SISTER CITY SINCE 1964: WONJU(Kangwon-Do), KOREA
Roanoke and Wonju share many differences, but also share many similarities, highlighting their sister city relationship. In a nation with 5,000+ years of recorded history, Wonju City records it first beginnings in 469 A.D., acquiring its name in 940 A.D. from King T'aejo. Now a dynamic modern city located 75 miles S.E. of Seoul on two main crossing expressways, Wonju is a centrally located industrial city proud of its pollution free environment in picturesque, mountainous Kangwon Province. It has an airport and is an important railroad center along South Korea's "Central Line." It offers wide express bus services as well.
Wonju has a population of 350,000+. Devastation following the Korean War remains only in the memory of its senior citizens. Tremendous restoration took place after the war and is on-going: Wonju is studded with 15-20 story hi-rise apartment buildings, a tourist hotel, four industrial parks, two major TV studios, a large civic art gallery, a 10,000-seat Olympic gymnasium and an outdoor stadium seating 20,000. It is the gateway city to Korea's coal, tungsten and cement resources. Industry includes auto parts, transformers, battery manufacture, cutlery, copper wire, electronics, sporting goods, office equipment, plastics, ceramics, bio-med research & products, insulation and floor tiles, cosmetics, processed/ canned foods, and musical instruments, i.e. violins, violas, cellos, basses. Annual cultural celebrations including the Chiak, International Walking and Tattoo Festivals (military bands) are all gala events. Resorts: four golf courses, three ski, swimming, a “Dream Land Amusement Park."
Higher education is given top priority in Wonju, which hosts Halla University, Sangji University/ Youngseo College, and Wonju-Yonsei University. The latter two, each with 6000+ students, have affiliations with VWCC and Roanoke College. Health services are provided by Wonju Christian Hospital & Medical Center [1000 beds], Wonju-Yonsei Medical & Nursing Schools, a Provincial Hospital and numerous private clinics. Wonju is proud of its high medical standards.
The 1st Republic of Korea Army Hdqts. and neighboring Camp Long, home base of U.S. Army & Air Force personnel, are located on the north side of Wonju. Since 1964, this makes Sister City welcome for Roanoke "GIs" who are in Korea.
During our 40 year relationship, there have been many exchange visits, including personal, professional, and official travel in a variety of fields. Roanoke and Wonju share interests and information in cultural, educational (i.e. faculty and student exchanges), medical, commercial products/ artifacts and artistic projects. Life long friendships between our citizens have matured, been sustained and brought us closer than ever across 7050+ miles.