Since the establishment of Incheon International Airport in 2001, the city of Incheon has become a central transportation hub of northeast Asia. The newly established Songdo district, the Incheon Free Economic Zone, and the 2014 Incheon Asian Games have transformed Incheon into a truly international city.
In 1883, Incheon opened Jemulpo Port and Gyeonginsun Railroad. The resulting influx of Western culture into Korea Republic introduced the country to modern football thanks to the English ship “Flying Fish.” Today, Jemulpo has evolved from a small port into a grand harbour visited by the largest of vessels but vestiges of older times remain in Seonlindong and Chinatown. For a more modern feel, the recently established Songdo Central Park offers water taxis, canoes and biking trails amidst a backdrop of skyscrapers.
Beyond the winding Incheon coast lies a handful of islands. Yeongjongdo, for example, is not only home to Incheon International Airport but also Eulwang Beach, where tourists can use award-winning athletic facilities and camping grounds. Other notable islands include Wolmido, with famous cultural centres and restaurants, and Silmido, which is uninhabited but famous as a filming site. Finally, there is the island of Ganghwado to the southwest. It was inhabited by people from prehistoric times, and its dolmens - stone tombs in which ancient kings are buried - have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Moreover, the highest peak of Mani Mountain houses the ancient Chamseongdan Altar, said to have been built by the legendary founder figure of Korea, Dangun Wanggeom. This altar is used today as a torch relay site for the Korea National Sports Festival.
Incheon was host to three group stage matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™. Korea Republic topped their group and qualified for the round of 16 for the first time in its history thanks to a 1-0 win over Portugal at the Incheon Munhak Sports Complex. At the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, games will be played at the Incheon Football Centre as opposed to the Munhak Complex.
Incheon is also home to domestic football teams. The K-League outfit Incheon United, founded in 2003, has played home games at the Incheon Football Centre since 2012. The first professional women’s football team in Korea, the Incheon Red Angels, clinched the WK-League title three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015.