Busan Metropolitan City (or Pusan), on the southeastern-most point of the Korean peninsula, with around 3.6 million inhabitants, is South Korea's second largest city, its largest port city and the cultural, educational and economic centre of its region. It is known for its beaches, like Haeundae, on the north east side of Busan and Geumjeongsan, its highest mountain on its north side, from where the whole city can be seen.
Busan was already a trading port with Japan from the early 15th century and a Japanese settlement was permitted here. During Japanese rule it developed into a hub trading port with Japan and also today it is the port from where daily ferries connect it to the Japanese cities Shimonoseki and Fukuoka.
During the Korean War, Busan was one of only two cities in South Korea not captured by the North Korean army within the first three months of the War in 1950 and became a refuge for thousands of people fleeing the carnage. It became a temporary capital of the Republic of (South) Korea when Seoul was occupied by the Communists. After the war Busan, like Seoul, became self-governing and in 1963 it separated from surrounding Gyeongsangnam-do province to become a Directly Governed City; in 1995 Busan finally became a Metropolitan City.