Map of Korea (2) : Ryanggang Province
Illustrated by Pak Chi Hon
Ryanggan Province is the youngest province in north Korea as it was established in October 1954, consolidating parts of Jagang and South Hamgyong Provinces. Before the extent of the province was finally fixed to its present size, changes were made several times. Some parts of Jagang and South Hamgyong Provinces merged into Ryanggang Province again, where the Samjiyong and Daehongdang counties were newly established. Then, Pujon county, once consolidated into Ryanggang Province, again merged with South Hamgyong Province.
The name Ryanggang ("both rivers" in the Korean language) came from two big rivers in the Province, the Amrok and Tumen rivers which start in Mt. Paekdu to flow into the West and East Seas of Korea.
Situated on widespread high plateaus and surrounded by mountain ranges, the province is at the highest sea level of 1,339 meters in the Korean Peninsula.
Despite such a high altitude, the province's lay of the land is generally flat due to the Kaema and Paekmu Plateaus.
The province has a continental climate, and its average temperature is 2 ℃-- 3℃, -17℃ - -22℃ in winter and 18℃ - 22℃ in summer.
Although low temperature and deep forests restrain water evaporation, mist and showers cause high humidity in the province. In most area of the province, winds blow from the north.
The seat of government of the province is Hyesan.
Hyesan is the biggest forestry center in Korea, where paper manufacture, lumber industry, manufacture of machines for lumber and refrigerant industries are developed.
North Koreans often associate the province with the revolutionary history of the late President Kim Il Sung who led the Korean Revolutionary Army and waged guerilla battles against the Japanese Imperial Army, operating from secret camps built in the Paekdu mountain area. Today, north Korean people call the province an "open-air revolutionary museum," as many revolutionary sites are located there. Grand monuments were built in Pochonbo, on lake Samji and in Musan, which are associated with the victories of Korean People's Revolutionary Army. There are also many revolutionary museums including the Kim Il Sung Museum of Revolutionary History and the Pochonbo Revolutionary Museum.
The best sight seeing spot in the province is Mt. Paekdu, which Korean people have regard as a Mecca of the Korean nation. Mt. Paekdu is situated on the northern border of Korea with China, which rises 2,750 meters above sea level. Changgun Peak in Mt. Paekdu
Covered with white pumice stones blown out at the time of its volcanic eruption, it always looks white, so it is given the name of Paekdusan, or White Headed Mountain in Korean.
Flowers in Mt. Paekdu
Lake Chon, a natural lake located on the top of the mountain was formed in the crater made by the volcanic eruption. Its area is 9.16 square kilometers and its circumference 14.4 kilometers. The lake is 4.64 kilometers long and its maximum depth is 384 meters. The lake is the deepest mountain lake in the world.
It is often very foggy at the top of the mountain, so that a visitor can call oneself very happy if he can see Lake Chon on his trip to the mountain. The beauty of the lake is beyond description and some even said that the scenery is better than famous Mt. Kumgang.
Lake Samji and Rimyongsu are also recommendable sightseeing spots. Especially Rimyong Falls, formed by underground water in Rimyongsu, in winter presents a spectacular view; ice pillars formed below the waterfalls and mist around it creates an image of "frosted flowers."
Rimyongsu in winter
Tourists can also enjoy blueberry gathering in Daehongdan.
A building called Kyegungjong on the top of a precipitous cliff facing the Amrok river was originally the south gate of Hyesanup Castle in the northeast of Hyesan City. After it was repaired in 1631, it began to be called Kyegungjong, which means a house where bows were stored in Korean. The house is so called as soldiers and people in the area kept bows there in preparation for a sudden attack by foreign aggressors.
Kyegungjong, one of the most important outposts for the defense of northern border in ancient age, shows the patriotism of the Korean nation.
Data on Ryanggang Province
|Seat of Government of Province||Hyesan|
|Size of the land||13,888.4 square kilometers|
|Climate||Annual precipitation: 598. 2mm|
|Annual average temperature: -24.4℃ in winter 26.4℃ in summer|
|Mineral resources||copper, magnesite, limestone, coal, gold, iron sulphide, silver, tarc, lead, granite|
Wheat, barley, rice, corn, been, potato, hop, cocoon, bee culture, horse bean
Special Product: Hyesan Hops and Tulchuk (blueberry)
Hyesan hops are popular for its original aroma and stimulative taste, and widely exported to foreign countries. The hop makes very good beer and it is also utilized for medicine manufacture and confectionery. The hops grow to a 10-meter height and bear yellowish green flowers like pinecones in summer.
Tulchuk or blueberries are another special product of the region. Liquor made from the blueberries whose strength is 80 - 120 proof, is also loved by Korean people.
|Animal products||Sheep, cattle|
|Marine Products||Char, rainbow trout|
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