P'yŏngyang , with about 2,750,000 inhabitants, is the capital and largest city of North Korea. It is on the Taedong River in the southwest of the country.
The capital has been completely redesigned since the Korean War (1950–53). It is designed with wide avenues, imposing monuments and monolithic buildings.
|POPULATION :||City: 2,581,076|
|FOUNDED :||1122 BC|
|TIME ZONE :||(UTC+8:30)|
|RELIGION :||Buddhist and Confucianist|
|AREA :||1,100 km2 (400 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||38 m (125 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||39°1′10″N 125°44′17″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.80% |
• Female: 51.20%
|ETHNIC :||Korean, (small community of Chinese and Japanese)|
|AREA CODE :||2|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+850 2|
Pyongyang was reduced to rubble during the Korean War and has been entirely rebuilt according to a design reflecting Kim Il-Sung's vision.His dream was to create a capital that would boost the morale and ego of Koreans in the post-war years. The result was a city with wide, tree-lined boulevards and monumental public buildings with terraced landscaping, mosaics and decorated ceilings.
Foreign visitors have described Pyongyang as one of the most beautiful cities they have seen; its Russian-style architecture makes it reminiscent of a Siberian city during winter snowfall, although edifices of traditional Korean design somewhat soften this perception. In summer, it is notable for its rivers, willow trees, flowers and parkland.
Structures in Pyongyang are divided into three major architectural categories: monuments, buildings with traditional Korean motifs and high-rises. Some of North Korea's most recognisable landmarks are monuments, like the Juche Tower, the Arch of Triumph and the Mansu Hill Grand Monument. The first of them is a 170-meter granite spire symbolizing the Juche ideology. It was completed in 1982 and contains 25,550 granite blocks, one for each day of Kim Il-Sung's life up to that point. By far the most prominent building on Pyongyang's skyline is Ryugyong Hotel, the seventh highest building in the world terms of floor count and one of the tallest hotels in the world. It has yet to open.
In 1955, archaeologists excavated evidence of prehistoric occupation in a large ancient village in the Pyongyang area, called Kŭmtan-ni, dating to the Chŭlmun and Mumun pottery periods.
Pyongyang was founded in 1122 BC on the site of Tangun Dynasty's capital, according to legends. It is likely that the area of Pyongyang belonged to Wiman Joseon, the shortest-lasting part of Gojoseon if both Dangun and Gija Joseon were real, which fell in the Gojoseon–Han War in 108 BC.
The area around the city was called Nanglang during the early Three Kingdoms period. As the capital of Nanglang kingdom , Pyongyang remained an important commercial and cultural outpost after Lelang Commandery was destroyed by an expanding Goguryeo in 313.
Goguryeo moved its capital there in 427. According to Christopher Beckwith, Pyongyang is the Sino-Korean reading of the name they gave it in their language: Piarna, or "level land".
In 668, Pyongyang became the capital of the Protectorate General to Pacify the East established by the Tang dynasty of China. However, by 676, it was taken by Silla, but left on the border between Silla and Balhae (Bohai). This lasted until the time of the Goryeo dynasty, when the city was revived as Sŏgyŏng (Hangul: 서경; hanja: 西京; "Western Capital") although it was never actually a capital of the kingdom. It was the provincial capital of the Pyeongan Province during the Joseon dynasty.
During the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98), Pyongyang was captured by the Japanese until the Japanese were defeated in the Siege of Pyongyang.
Later in the 17th century, it became temporarily occupied during Second Manchu invasion of Korea until peace arrangements were made between Korea and the Manchus. While the invasions made Koreans suspicious of foreigners, the influence of Christianity began to grow after the country opened itself up to foreigners in the 16th century. Pyongyang became the base of Christian expansion in Korea, and by 1880 it had more than 100 churches and more Protestant missionaries than any other Asian city.
In 1890, the city had 40,000 inhabitants. It was the site of an important battle during the First Sino-Japanese War, which led to the destruction and depopulation of much of the city. However, it was the provincial capital of South Pyeongan Province from 1896. Under colonial rule, the city became an industrial center, called Heijō in Japanese.
In July 1931 the city experienced Anti-Chinese riots as a result of the Wanpaoshan Incident and the sensationalized media reports of the incident which appeared in Japanese and Korean newspapers.By 1938, Pyongyang had a population of 235,000.
On 25 August 1945, the 25th army of the Soviet Army entered Pyongyang, and it became the temporary capital of the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea. A People's Committee was already established there, led by veteran Christian nationalist Cho Man-sik. Pyongyang became the de facto capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at its establishment in 1948. At that time, the Pyongyang government aimed to recapture Korea's official capital at that time, Seoul. Pyongyang was again severely damaged in the Korean War, during which it was briefly occupied by South Korean forces from 19 October to 6 December 1950. In 1952, it was the target of the largest aerial raid of the entire war, involving 1,400 UN aircraft.
After the war, the city was quickly rebuilt with Soviet aid, with many buildings built in the style of Socialist Classicism. The plans for the modern city of Pyongyang were first displayed for public viewing in a theatre building.
In 2001, the authorities began a long-term modernization program. The Ministry of Capital City Construction Development was included in the cabinet in that year. In 2006, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law Jang Song-thaek took charge of the ministry.
Pyongyang has a humid continental climate.
Cold, dry winds can blow from Siberia in winter, making conditions very cold; the low temperature is usually below freezing between November and early March, although the average daytime high is at least a few degrees above freezing in every month except January. The winter is generally much drier than summer, with snow falling for 37 days on average.
The transition from the cold, dry winter to the warm, wet summer occurs rather quickly between April and early May, and there is a similar abrupt return to winter conditions in late October and November. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until August; these are also the hottest months, with average temperatures of 21 to 25 °C (70 to 77 °F), and daytime highs often above 30 °C (86 °F).
Climate data for Pyongyang
|Record high °C (°F)||11.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||−0.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−5.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||−10.7|
|Record low °C (°F)||−28.5|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
Pyongyang is in the west-central part of North Korea. The city lies on a flat plain about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of the Korea Bay, an arm of the Yellow Sea. The Taedong River flows southwestward through the city toward the Korea Bay. The Pyongyang plain, where the city is situated, is one of the two large plains on the Western coast of the Korean peninsula, the other being the Chaeryong plain. Both have an area of approximately 500 square kilometers.
Pyongyang is North Korea's industrial center. Thanks to the abundance of natural resources like coal, iron and limestone, as well as good land and water transport systems, it was the first industrial city to emerge in North Korea after the Korean War.
Light and heavy industries are both present and have developed in parallel. Heavy manufactures include cement, industrial ceramics, munitions and weapons, but mechanical engineering remains the core industry. Light industries in Pyongyang and its vicinity include textiles, footwear and food, among others. Special emphasis is put on the production and supply of fresh produce and subsidiary crops in farms on the city's outskirts. Other crops include rice, corn and soybeans. Pyongyang aims to achieve self-sufficiency in meat production. High-density facilities raise pigs, chicken and other livestock.
The city still experiences a shortage of electricity. To solve this problem, two power stations - Huichon Power Stations 1 and 2 - were built in Chagang Province and supply the city through direct transmission lines. A second phase of the power expansion project was launched in January 2013, consisting of a series of small dams along the Chongchon River. The first two power stations have a maximum generating capacity of 300 megawatts (MW), while the 10 dams to be built under second phase are expected to generate about 120 MW. In addition, the city has several existing or planned thermal power stations. These include Pyongyang TPS with a capacity of 500 MW, East Pyongyang TPS with a capacity of 50 MW, and Kangdong TPS which is under construction.
P'yŏngyang is divided into 19 wards (ku- or guyŏk) (the city proper) and 2 counties (kun or gun).
The country code for North Korea is +850.
Foreigners staying in Pyongyang can sign up with Koryolink mobile phone service. The setup fee for a SIM card and voice service will be either $80 or €80. Signing up for 3G data costs an additional €180. Fees for the mobile service are $8/month for voice and $14/month for data. The included data plan provides 50M of data. Note that the phone network available to foreigners does not interconnect with the network used by citizens.
Hotels aimed at foreigners may be able to provide Internet access, although it should be requested in advance. If you do not have Internet access and need connection the easiest option is likely to schedule a visit to your embassy.