The city of Gongju began sister-city relations with Yamaguchi City on February 23rd, 1993. Gongju is located in Chungcheongnam-do, or South Chungcheon Province, on the western coast of South Korea roughly 150 kilometers south of Seoul. Two major mountains, Mt. Charyong and Mr. Gyeryong, are located near Gongju, and a nationally managed river, the Geum River, runs through the city itself. Some of Gongju’s products include fruit (strawberries, pears, etc.), vegetables (cucumbers, red peppers, etc.), and rice.
Gongju is home to the Baekje Cultural Festival, one of three major cultural festivals in Korea. The festival, which pays tribute to the culture and tradition of the Baekje Period (18 BC-660 AD), started in 1955. The 55th Baekje Cultural Festival will take place from October 9th through October, 18th 2009. This year’s festival will have roughly 100 events. Events at past festivals have included performances from both domestic and international participants, parades and fireworks.
The best known site in Gongju is perhaps the Tomb of King Muryeong. The tomb was discovered in 1971, roughly 1500 years after it was constructed, during drainage work. The tomb, built for King Muryeong and his wife, was constructed in the shape of a small hill with a diameter of about 20 meters and a height of 7.7 meters. 2,906 relics have been found in the tomb, 12 of which have been designated national treasures. Relics from the tomb are on display at the Gongju National Museum.