Incheon (Hangul: 인천; Hanja: 仁川; Korean pronunciation: [intɕʰʌn]; formerly romanized as Inchŏn; literally "kind river"), officially the Incheon Metropolitan City (인천광역시), is a city located in northwestern South Korea, bordering Seoul and Gyeonggi to the east. Inhabited since the Neolithic, Incheon was home to just 4,700 people when it became an international port in 1883. Today, about 3 million people live in the city, making it S Korea’s third most-populous city after Seoul and Busan. The city's growth has been assured in modern times with the development of its port due to its natural advantages as a coastal city and its proximity to the South Korean capital. It is part of the Seoul Capital Area, along with Seoul itself and Gyeonggi Province, forming the world's fourth largest metropolitan area by population.
Incheon has since led the economic development of Korea by opening its port to the outside world, ushering in the modernization of Korea as a center of industrialization. In 2003, the city was designated as Korea’s first free economic zone. Since then, large local companies and global enterprises have increasingly invested in the Incheon Free Economic Zone, including Samsung which chose Songdo International City as its new investment destination for its bio industry.
As an international city, Incheon has held numerous large scale international conferences, such as the Incheon Global Fair & Festival in 2009. The 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014 was also held in Incheon on 19 September 2014. Incheon has established itself as a major transportation hub in northeast Asia with the Incheon International Airport and Incheon Port. The city is also home to the Green Climate Fund, an international organization addressing environmental issues.
|Incheon Metropolitan City|
|Korean name transcription(s)|
|• Revised Romanization||Incheon Gwang-yeoksi|
|• McCune-Reischauer||Inch'ŏn Kwang'yŏkshi|
Map of South Korea with Incheon highlighted
Map of municipal districts
|Region||Seoul National Capital Area|
|Founded||18 BC as Michuhol 1995 AD as Incheon Metropolitan City|
|• Mayor||Park Nam-chun (Democratic)|
|• Body||Incheon Metropolitan Council|
|• Total||1,062.63 km2 (410.28 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,800/km2 (7,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Korea Standard Time)|
The first historical record of the Incheon area dates back to 475 CE, during the reign of King Jangsu of Goguryeo, by the name of Michuhol, which is supposed to be located on today's Munhak Hill (문학산). The area underwent several name changes with successive kingdoms and dynasties. In Goryeo era, Incheon was called Gyeongwon (경원) or Inju (인주). The current name was turned to Incheon in 1413. Later, Incheon County became Incheon Metropolitan Prefecture (dohobu, 도호부). Old Incheon consisted of today's southern Incheon (i.e. Jung-gu, Dong-gu, Nam-gu, Yeonsu-gu, and Namdong-gu) and northern part of Siheung City. The city centre was Gwangyo-dong, where the prefecture office (도호부청사) and the local academy (hyanggyo, 향교) were located. The "original" two remaining buildings of the Incheon prefecture office are located in Munhak Elementary School, while the newly built (in 2001) prefecture office buildings are right across from Munhak Baseball Stadium.
Another historical name of the city, Jemulpo (alternatively Romanized as Chemulpo), was not widely used until the opening of the port in 1883. After the opening of the Incheon port, the city centre moved from Gwangyo to Jemulpo. Today, either Jemulpo or Gwangyo-dong is considered "Original Incheon" (원인천). It was renamed as Jinsen during Japanese rule in Korean peninsula.
In 1914, the Japanese colonial government merged outer parts of old Incheon (including the former centre of Gwangyo) with Bupyeong County, forming Bucheon County. Through 1936 and 1940, some part of Bucheon County was recombined into Incheon City, by which some part of "old" Bupyeong was annexed into Incheon.
Incheon was originally part of Gyeonggi Province, but was granted Directly Governed (now Metropolitan) City status on July 1, 1981; the city officially separated from the province. In 1989, neighbouring islands and Gyeyang township of Gimpo County were ceded to Incheon and in 1995 Geomdan township of Gimpo Country and two counties of Ganghwa and Onjin were annexed to Incheon Metropolitan City.
Incheon was known as Inchon prior to South Korea's adoption of a new Romanization system in 2000.
During the Korean War, Incheon was occupied by North Korean troops on 4 September 1950. Eleven days later, Incheon was the site of the Battle of Inchon, when United States troops landed to relieve pressure on the Pusan Perimeter and to launch a United Nations offensive northward. The result was a decisive UN victory and it was recaptured on 19 September 1950. The USS Inchon was named after the tide-turning battle that ensued.
Incheon has also hosted a series of major international events. The Global Fair & Festival 2009 Incheon was held in the Songdo District in August 2009. It was open from 7 August to 25 October for a period of 80 days. It was a comprehensive international event with global institutions and corporations as participants.Various musicians and artists performed during the event.
Incheon hosted the Asian Games in 2014.
On 27 February 2007, Incheon declared itself an "English City," and inaugurated the "Incheon Free English Zone" program. The goal of the program is to make the city as proficient in English as Hong Kong and Singapore. This is for the ultimate purpose of establishing Incheon as a commercial and business hub of northeast Asia (see Free Economic Zone below). The official slogan of the program is "Smile with English."
Incheon is home to a number of colleges and universities:
Incheon has a humid subtropical climate, and humid continental climate (Köppen Cwa/Dwa, respectively). Like other metropolitan city, incheon has a strong effect of urban heat island effect. Incheon's climate is about average compared to the rest of Korea, with 8 locations being cooler and 10 locations being warmer, and with 9 locations being wetter and 9 locations being drier.
Incheon experiences each of its four seasons, distinctly feeling the rise and fall of temperature and humidity. The temperature however, never rises to an extreme, and the climate of the city is essentially mild. Incheon is swept by the seasonal winds as the northwesterly winds strike the city in the winter and the summer in Incheon is affected by gusts of the warm southwesterly winds.
|Climate data for Incheon (1981–2010, extremes 1904–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.8
|Average high °C (°F)||1.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−2.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−5.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−21.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||20.6
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||6.6||5.3||6.7||7.3||8.7||9.7||14.9||12.5||8.2||6.2||8.5||7.3||101.9|
|Average snowy days||7.6||4.3||2.5||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.5||5.8||21.9|
|Average relative humidity (%)||61.5||61.8||63.4||64.1||70.3||74.8||82.2||79.1||73.1||67.3||63.9||62.0||68.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||178.0||181.5||204.9||219.4||231.4||203.4||156.8||191.0||197.6||211.2||168.6||171.0||2,314.9|
|Percent possible sunshine||58.0||59.5||55.3||55.6||52.7||46.1||35.0||45.4||52.9||60.6||55.2||57.3||52.0|
|Source: Korea Meteorological Administration (percent sunshine and snowy days)|
Incheon forms the heart of Capital Industrial Region. During the industrialization of South Korea, several industrial complexes were built throughout the city, and as a result, the city was largely dependent on manufacturing industry. But with the designation of Incheon Free Economic Zone in 2003, the city is now making an effort to foster new growth industries. Major industrial parks include Bupyeong industrial complex, which hosts GM Incheon plant(formerly a GM Daewoo Incheon plant), Juan industrial complex, and Namdong Industrial complex.
In recent years, bio industry is emerging as a new growth industry of the city. Currently, with the total production capacity of 330kℓ per year, the city ranks 2nd in the world by production capacity along with San Francisco, United States. The capacity is under expansion, and after completion in 2018, the city will rank 1st with the production capacity of 510kℓ. Also, logistics industry is also experiencing a rapid growth, thanks to Incheon Airport, which was ranked fourth in the world by cargo traffic, and the expansion of Incheon Port.
Incheon is a major domestic and international transport hub for Korea.
Incheon International Airport is South Korea's primary international airport and a regional air hub. In 2015 it was the world's 22nd busiest airport by passenger traffic, with 49,412,750 passengers.
There were a total of 305,446 flights (300,634 international, 4,812 domestic) to and from Incheon International Airport in 2015, an average of 837 flights (824 international, 13 domestic) daily. 50.9% of the flights were serviced by Korea’s two main carriers, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, with low-cost and foreign carriers servicing the remaining 49.1%. The airport is experiencing a rapid increase in passengers, and the opening of the 2nd terminal in December 2017 should spur additional traffic.
Also featured in the Korean drama series, "Air City."
Incheon's sea port is the second largest port in Korea after Busan's sea port.
The International Passenger Terminal located at the port offers ferries to five cities in China: Dalian, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dandong, and Weihai. There are also ferries to Incheon's outlying islands as well as Baengnyeong Island inside of the Northern Limit Line.
Incheon Bus Terminal, located at its eponymous subway stop, offers express bus transportation to all parts of Korea. Many city bus lines offer transportation within city limits as well as to the neighboring cities of Bucheon, Gimpo, Seoul, and Siheung.
Many BRT lines offer transportation between Seoul and Incheon.
Local service to Guro, Seoul, Cheongnyangni, Uijeongbu and Soyosan is offered by Seoul's subway Line 1. The line has 11 stations within Incheon and connects to the Incheon Subway at Bupyeong and Juan stations.
Rapid service on the same line to Yongsan Station in Seoul depart from Dongincheon station and stops at major stations.
The Airport Express (AREX) line runs from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station via Gimpo International Airport. The Incheon-Gimpo section was opened in March 2007 and was extended to Seoul station in December 2010. Passengers can choose a high-speed service stopping only at Incheon airport and Seoul, which takes 43 minutes but departs only every half-hour; or the all-station service which takes 53 minutes but leaves every six minutes.
KTX service was introduced on the AREX line on 30 June 2014, with stops at Incheon International Airport Station and Geoman Station. There are additional plans to use the newly built Suin Line to bring KTX service to Incheon Station by 2021.
The Incheon Subway has two subway lines serving the city. The first line connects to the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system at Bupyeong Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), and AREX line at Gyeyang Station. It connects International Business District Station in Songdo to Gyeyang Station. The line has 28 stations on 29.4 kilometres (18.3 miles) of track. The line also has transfer stations with the Suin Line at Woninjae Station, with the Incheon Subway Line 2 at Incheon City Hall Station, and with Seoul Subway Line 7 at Bupyeong-gu Office Station. Incheon Subway Line 2 opened in July 2016 and runs from Geomdan Oryu Station to Unyeon Station. The automated line is 29.2 kilometres (18.1 miles) long, and has 27 stations, including transfer stations at Geomam Station with the AREX line, Juan Station with Seoul Subway Line 1 and Incheon Subway Line 2 at Incheon City Hall Station.
The Incheon subway is operated by the Incheon Rapid Transit Corporation (IRTC).
There are additional plans for a third subway line in Incheon.
Korail has also constructed a new commuter rail line named Suin Line. The line opened in 2012 from Oido Station in Siheung to Songdo Station in Incheon. It was then extended in 2016, and now reaches Incheon Station where passengers can transfer to Seoul Subway Line 1. In 2017, the line will be extended from Oido Station to Suwon Station.
SMRT (one of three operating companies of Seoul Metropolitan Subway) has extended Seoul Metropolitan Subway Line 7 to Bupyeong-gu office by 2011 and provided transfers to the Incheon Subway system. It has 3 stations within Incheon. By 2020, he line will further be extended westwards to Seongnam Station where it will be possible to transfer to Incheon Subway Line 2.
The Incheon Free Economic Zone consists of the three regions of Songdo, Cheongna, and the island of Yeongjong, and has a total area of 51,739 acres (20,938 ha). The goal of IFEZ is to transform these three areas into hubs for logistics, international business, leisure, and tourism for the Northeast Asian region. The term 'Free Economic Zone' applies to the development in these three areas with the aim of improving the business environment for foreign-invested enterprises and the living conditions for foreigners. The zone is a specially designated area to create the most favorable business and living environment where foreign nationals can live and invest freely and conveniently. Incheon's Free Economic Zone, the first in Korea, was officially designated by the Korean government in August 2003. IFEZ is planned to be a self-contained living and business district featuring air and sea transportation, a logistics complex, an international business center, financial services, residences, schools and hospitals, and shopping and entertainment centres.
Songdo International City began development in 1994 and is being built on reclaimed land. It is designated to become a center of diverse international businesses, a hub for international trade, an area for knowledge-based technologies, and a place for eco-friendly urban living. Construction is due to be completed in 2020.
As of 2012, Yeongjong International City’s 34,183 acres (13,833 ha) centering on the Incheon International Airport is being developed as an eco-friendly airport city scheduled to be completed by 2020. Paradise Co, a South Korean casino operator, said in October 2013 that it will build the country’s largest casino on Yeongjong Island.
The Cheongna district, on the mainland adjacent Yeongjong Island, will focus on entertainment and will feature a world class theme park. It will also be a residential area with sports facilities, a floriculture complex, and a business area specially designed for international finance.
Incheon is divided into 8 districts (gu) and 2 counties (gun).
According to the census of 2005, of the people of Incheon 36.1% follow Christianity (22.4% Protestantism and 13.7% Catholicism) and 13.8% follow Buddhism. 50.1% of the population is mostly not religious or follow Muism and other indigenous religions.
Incheon is home to the following professional and semi professional sports teams:
The K League 1 team Incheon United FC.
The Incheon team was known to have a popular rivalry against former Bucheon SK (now Jeju United), due to the teams' close geographical relationship.
Munhak Sports Complex: The Munahk Sports Complex houses both a football stadium and a baseball stadium. The football stadium was Incheon's venue for the 2002 Football World Cup, and is also the home venue for Incheon United. The baseball stadium is the home venue for the SK Wyverns.
Yeonhui Cricket Ground: Yeonhui Cricket Ground is a newly built cricket stadium in Incheon. The 2014 Asian Games will feature cricket for both the men's and the women's event and this ground will be used for the scheduled cricket matches to be played in the games. It has been reported that the crowd capacity of this ground will be 2,353. This first cricket stadium in South Korea.
Incheon Football Stadium (Sungui Arena): Incheon Football Stadium is the first football-only stadium in Incheon. It was built in 2012 with a capacity for 20,891 spectators.