Kangwon

강원도

Geography

Kangwon Province is located in the south-eastern portion of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It is bordered to the north by South Hamgyong Province and to the east by North Hwanghae Province and South Pyongan Province. The southern border of Kangwon is situated along the inter-Korean De-Militarised Zone which separates the two Koreas. East of Kangwon is the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

The province is dominated by mountainous terrain. The Taebaek mountain range covers the vast majority of the province with the exception of the coastline, especially around Yonghung bay, the site of the two provincial cities - the capital, Wonsan, and the city of Munchon.

The highest point in the Taebaek range is Kumgangsan (Mt. Kumgang), the diamond mountain. This region is renowned for its natural beauty and is a popular tourist site for both foreign and domestic visitors.

Economy

Wonsan, the capital of Kangwon, is a centre for shipbuilding and a significant port city providing access to the East Sea. It is also a centre for processing aquatic products and formerly served as a ferry terminal for the Mangyongbong-92 which used to serve as an international ferry between Japan and the DPRK. The region is also a centre for the fishing industry.

The Kumgangsan region is an important tourist destination for local and foreign visitors - even playing host to the Mt. Kumgang Tourist Region which was open to South Korean tourists between 1998 and 2008; however, the region is officially no longer part of Kangwon since it was split from the province in  2002.

Munchon

Wonsan

Kumgangsan

Notable Sites

Kumgangsan (Mt. Kumgang) is renowned internationally for its natural beauty. The area, which translated to 'Diamond Mountain' is part of the Taebeak mountain range which runs through Kangwon Province, south into southern Korea along the spine of the peninsula. The region is a popular tourist attraction for foreign tourists as well as attracting domestic visitors. The region was open to South Korean tourists between 1998 and 2008 as part of Kim Dae Jung's 'Sunshine Policy' towards the DPRK.

Revolutionary History

The Wonsan Revolutionary Museum is dedicated to the President Kim Il Sung who boarded a train at this station upon his return to Korea after the liberation from Japan in 1945. The original station was rebuilt in 1975 alongside a Japanese imperial age locomotive and train carriage similar to that which the President would have used at the time.

Wonsan was the site of the longest naval blockade in modern military history between 1951 and 1953. UN forces prevented the Chinese and North Korean militaries from using the port until 1953. The US military, as with many other population centres, totally destroyed the city in the process. It was rebuilt after the war and grew to become a significant port for the DPRK and its navy.

Kuryong waterfall, Kumgang
Wonsan, the provincial capital of Kangwon
A view into Kangwon from the southern side of the DMZ
Kumgangsan, the Diamond Mountain, is famous for its natural beauty
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