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Wŏnsan is a port city and naval base in southeastern North Koreamarker. It is the capital of Kangwŏn Province. The population of the city is estimated to have been 331,000 in 2000. Famous people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Workers' Party.


The original name of Wonsan was Wŏnsanjin (元山津). It opened as trade port in 1880. In 1914 the Pyongwon and Kyongwon Line were opened, connecting the city to Pyongyangmarker and Seoulmarker (then known as Kyongsong). Thus, the city gradually developed into the eastern product distribution center. Under the Japanese occupation, the city was heavily industrialized and served as an import point in the distribution of trade between Korea and mainland Japan.

Wŏnsan used to be in South Hamgyongmarker, but when provincial borders were redrawn in 1946, it joined the northern half of Kangwŏn (which had been split at the 38th parallel north into a zone under Soviet control in the north and one of American control in the south in 1945) and became its capital, as Kangwŏn's traditional capitals Wonjumarker (1395–1895) and Chuncheonmarker (since 1896) both were south of the 38th parallel and south of the Military Demarcation Line that replaced the 38th parallel as a border in 1953. It was heavily bombed by the United Nations during the Korean War. In fact, according to the official US Navy history, Wŏnsan was under continuous siege and bombardment by the American navy from March 1951 until July 27, 1953, making it the longest siege in modern American naval history. By war's end the city was a vast shell.

Currently, Wŏnsan is a comprehensive harbor industrial city and also serves as the administrative centre of Kangwŏn Province.


Wŏnsan's area is . It is located in Kangwŏn Province, on the westernmost part of the Sea of Japanmarker (East Sea of Korea) and the east end of the Korean peninsula's neck. Mt. Changdok (Changdok-san) and Mt. Naphal (Naphal-san) are located to the west of the city. More than 20 small islands flank Wŏnsan's immediate coastal area, including Hwangt'o Island and Ryo Island. Wŏnsan is considered an excellent natural port location.

Kŭmgang-sanmarker is located near Wŏnsan.


Wŏnsan has an aquatic product processing factory, shipyard, chemistry enterprise, and a cement factory.


Wŏnsan is connected to Pyongyang and other North Korean cities by electric railway and highway system. The city has a military and civilian dual purposes air station (WON) and is equipped with 01/19 and 15/33 dual runways, and is also the terminus of the Mangyongbong-92 ferry, the only direct connection between Japanmarker and North Korea.


The Korean Central Broadcasting Station maintains a 250-kilowatt mediumwave transmitter broadcasting on 882 kHz AM.


Wŏnsan is home to Songdowon University, Kumgang University, Tonghae University, Jong Jun Thaek University of Economics, Wŏnsan University of Medicine, Jo Gun Sil University of Engineering, Wŏnsan First University of Education and Ri Su Dok University.


Most of North Korea is not accessible to foreign tourists. However, nearby Songdowon is a famous sea bathing destination for North Koreans, as the water there is exceptionally clear. Pine trees are abundant in the surrounding area, and it has been designated a national sightseeing point.

Songdowon International Children's Union Camp was built beside Songdowon, at , and it still receives teenagers and youth for cultural exchange between North Korea and various foreign countries.

Famous scenic sites near Wŏnsan: Myongsasimni, Lake Sijung, Chongsokjon and Mt.marker Kumgangmarker. Temples in the area include the Sogwangsa and Anbyon Pohyonsa Buddhist temples.

Administrative divisions

Wonsan is divided into 40 administrative districts known as dong, as wells as fifteen villages ("ri"). The largest dong, Haebang, is further divided in two parts for administrative purposes.
  • Changch'on-dong
    (장촌동/ )
  • Changdŏk-dong
    (장덕동/ )
  • Changsan-dong
    (장산동/ )
  • Chŏkch'ŏn-dong
    (적천동/ )
  • Chŏnjin-dong
    (전진동/ )
  • Chungch'ŏng-dong
    (중청동/ )
  • Haean-dong
    (해안동/ )
  • Haebang-dong
    (해방동/ )
  • Kaesŏn-dong
    (개선동/ )
  • Kalma-dong
  • Kwangsŏk-dong
    (광석동/ )
  • Kwanp'ung-dong
    (관풍동/ )
  • Myŏngsŏk-dong
    (명석동/ )
  • Naewŏnsan-dong
    (내원산동/ )
  • Namsan-dong
    (남산동/ )
  • Panghasan-dong
    (방하산동/ )
  • Pokman-dong
    (복막동/ )
  • Pongch'un-dong
    (봉춘동/ )
  • Pongsu-dong
    (봉수동/ )
  • P'yŏnghwa-dong
    (평화동/ )
  • Ryŏdo-dong
    (려도동/ )
  • Ryongha-dong
    (룡하동/ )
  • Ryul-dong
    (률동/ )
  • Sambong-dong
    (삼봉동/ )
  • Sang-dong
    (상동/ )
  • Segil-dong
    ( )
  • Sinhung-dong
    (신흥동/ )
  • Sinp'ung-dong
    (신풍동/ )
  • Sinsŏng-dong
    (신성동/ )
  • Sŏku-dong
    (석우동/ )
  • Songch'ŏn-dong
    (송천동/ )
  • Songhŭng-dong
    (송흥동/ )
  • Sŭngri-dong
  • T'ap-dong
    (탑동/ )
  • Tŏksŏng-dong
    (덕성동/ )
  • Tongmyŏngsan-dong
    (동명산동/ )
  • Wau-dong
    (와우동/ )
  • Wŏnnam-dong
    (원남동/ )
  • Wŏnsok-dong
  • Yangji-dong
    (양지동/ )
  • Changrim-ri
    (장림리/ )
  • Ch'ilbong-ri
    (칠봉리/ )
  • Chuksan-ri
    (죽산리/ )
  • Chungp'yŏng-ri
    (중평리/ )
  • Ch'unsan-ri
    (춘산리/ )
  • Hyŏndong-ri
    (현동리/ )
  • Namch'ŏn-ri
    (남천리/ )
  • Raksu-ri
    (락수리/ )
  • Ryongch'ŏn-ri
    (룡천리/ )
  • Samtae-ri
    (삼태리/ )
  • Sangja-ri
    (상자리/ )
  • Sinsŏng-ri
    (신성리/ )
  • Sŏkhyŏn-ri
    (석현리/ )
  • Susang-ri
    (수상리/ )
  • Yŏngsam-ri
    (영삼리/ )

Sister City

See also


  1. Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea, the Unknown War (NY: Pantheon Books, 1988), p. 157.
  3. Kim Jong Il Holds Third Summit Talks with Putin during Tour of Far Eastern Region of Russia

External links

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