Ryanggang

량강도

Geography

Ryanggang Province is located in the north of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It is bordered to the north by China along the Amnok (Yalu) and Tumen rivers. The province is bordered by North Hamgyong Province to the east, South Hamgyong Province to the south, and Chagang Province to the west.

The region is primarily mountainous with only 6.2% of the land suitable for agriculture. The Kaema highlands dominate the province which is bordered by the Machol Range to the east. The highest point in Korea is located in Ryanggang, Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) is considered the most important site in the country. Known as Changbaishan in China, the mountain is in fact a supervolcano which is topped with a lake called 'Lake Chon' or 'Heaven Lake'.

The area is in woodland and in mineral deposits which has dictated the province's economic path since it's formation.

Economy

The extensive forests in Ryanggang have made forestry, wood processing and paper production key areas of industry in the area. Despite the harsh environment, there is a limited agricultural industry in the region - hops are a famous product of Ryanggang; they are produced in a couple of counties as well as the captial, Hyesan.

Despite economic stagnation, the province has continued to act as a centre for the mining industry. A series of mines surrounding the capital, Hyesan, produce 80% of the country's copper at a rate of around 10,000 tonnes per year. 

Hyesan

Paektusan

Pochon

Notable Sites

Paektusan (Mt Paektu) is the highest point on the Korean peninsula and is the mythological birthplace of the Korean people. The mountain straddles the border with the People's Republic of China where it is known as Changbaishan. The name 'Paektusan' is used widely in North Korea to brand many products as well as featuring on the national emblem.

Samjiyon is a town near Paektusan which serves as the gateway to the mountain. The town underwent major renovation in 2019 to transform it into a modern settlement better suited to handling domestic traffic between Paektu and the rest of the country.

Revolutionary History

The county of 'Pochon' is well-known in the DPRK as being the site of the battle of Pochonbo. According to official records, the anti-Japanese guerilla forces under the command of the President Kim Il Sung attacked Japanese garrisons stationed in Pochon before retreating back to Manchuria. The battle, which occured in 1937, expedited  Kim Il Sung's rise to fame amidst Korean fighter and the Japanese occupation alike.

The Paektusan 'Secret Camp' is a series of bases built in the mid-1930s to serve as the headquarters for various organisations of the anti-Japanese guerilla movement. The Korean People's Army headquarters were reportedly based here during the Japanese occupation. The location was not publicised until after the liberation of Korea.

The General Kim Jong Il, son of the President Kim Il Sung and the General Kim Jong Suk, was reportedly born at Paektu - the native house of the General is located in the Paektusan Secret Camp.

Samjiyon is the site of one of three 'Grand Monuments' in the DPRK. The monument consists of a series of statues depicting anti-Japanese fighters, a Juche torch and a 15m tall bronze statue of the President Kim Il Sung in his younger years which serves as the centrepiece for the monument.

The tip of the Pochonbo monument is visible from across the border with China
The capital, Hyesan, in winter as seen from China
Lake Chon is located in the Caldera of Mt. Paektu.
Samjiyon after the 2019 renovation
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