View of Wonsan
Map of Kangwon showing the location of Wonwan
|Region||Kwandong, Kwannam (before 1946)|
|Divisions||45 dong, 14 ri|
|o Total||269 km2 (104 sq mi)|
W?nsan (Korean pronunciation: [w?n.san]), previously known as W?nsanjin (), Port Lazarev, and Gensan (), is a port city and naval base located in Kangw?n Province, North Korea, along the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula, on Sea of Japan and the provincial capital. The port was opened by occupying Japanese forces in 1880. Before the 1950-1953 Korean War, it fell within the jurisdiction of the then South Hamgy?ng province, and during the war it was the location of the Blockade of W?nsan. The population of the city was estimated at 329,207 in 2013. Notable people from W?nsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party.
In 2013, it was announced that W?nsan would be converted into a summer destination with resorts and entertainment. Having spent his childhood years there, Kim Jong-un has expressed significant interest in further developing the region, with the construction of new infrastructure such as Kalma Airport, a dual-use civilian international airport and military proving ground. A state corporation, the Wonsan Zone Development Corporation, has been established with feasibility studies for a wide variety of hotels and commercial and industrial development.
Wonsan has also been known as Yonghunghang, Yuan shan in China, Genzan or Gensan in Japan, and Port Lazareva or Port Lazareff in Russia.
W?nsan's area is 269 square kilometres (104 sq mi). It is located in Kangw?n Province, on the westernmost part of the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea) and the east end of the Korean peninsula's neck. Mt. Changdok (Changdok-san) and Mt. Nap'al (Nap'al-san) are located to the west of the city. More than 20 small islands flank W?nsan's immediate coastal area, including Hwangt'o Island and Ry? Island. W?nsan is considered an excellent natural port location. K?mgang-san mountain is located near W?nsan.
W?nsan serves as the administrative centre of Kangw?n Province.
|Climate data for Wonsan, North Korea|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||-1.8
|Average low °C (°F)||-5.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||36.8
|Average precipitation days||5.4||3.8||4.6||6.8||8.0||12.1||15.4||12.5||10.5||7.0||5.8||3.5||95.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||204.6||206.2||232.5||234.0||235.6||207.0||173.6||176.7||198.0||223.2||192.0||192.2||2,475.6|
|Source #1: Weather OnLine|
|Source #2: Wetter Spiegel Online (sunshine only)|
W?nsan opened as a trade port in 1880. Its original name was W?nsanjin (), but it was also known by the Russian name of Port Lazarev (Lazaref). Under Japanese rule (1910-45) it was called Gensan (). In 1914 the P'y?ngw?n and Ky?ngw?n railway lines were opened, connecting the city to P'y?ngyang (then known as Heijo) and Seoul (then Keijo or Ky?ngs?ng). Thus, the city gradually developed into an eastern product distribution centre. 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.
After the Korean War broke out it was captured by American and South Korean troops on 10 October 1950 during their drive north. When they left ahead of the Chinese counter-attack, the city fell under Chinese control on 9 December 1950. It was heavily bombed and shelled by the United Nations in the Blockade of Wonsan during the Korean War. According to the official US Navy history W?nsan 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 the war's end the city was a vast shell.
Kim Jong-un announced in 2015 plans for a $582 million redevelopment of the city centre, which is to be entirely demolished and rebuilt. A 5-star hotel, a 17-storey Wonsan International Finance Centre and a $9.6m exhibition hall are expected to be built.
W?nsan used to be in South Hamgy?ng, but when provincial borders were redrawn in 1946, it joined the northern half of Kangw?n (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 Kangw?n's traditional capitals W?nju (1395-1895) and Ch'unch'?n (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.
W?nsan has an aquatic product processing factory, shipyard, chemistry enterprise, a cement factory, as well as the 4 June Rolling Stock Works, which is one of the DPRK's largest railway rolling stock factories.
The district of W?nsan-si is served by several stations on the Kangw?n Line of the Korean State Railway, including a branch to the port; it is also connected to the national road network, and is the terminus of the P'y?ngyang-W?nsan Tourist Motorway and the W?nsan-K?mgangsan Highway.
The city has the dual purpose military and civilian W?nsan Airport (IATA: WON) equipped with 01/19 and 15/33 dual runways. Images from Google Earth from July and August 2014 indicated that major expansion was taking place, including the construction of two new runways. There is also an underground air force runway which runs through a mountain, near Wonsan. North Korea's first public air show, the Wonsan International Friendship Air Festival, was held at Wonsan Airport in September 2016.
W?nsan was also the terminus of the Mangyongbong-92 ferry that operated between W?nsan and Niigata, which was the only direct connection between Japan and North Korea. This service was cancelled in 2006 when Japan banned North Korean ships.
The Korean Central Broadcasting Station maintains a 250-kilowatt mediumwave transmitter broadcasting on 882 kHz AM.
W?nsan is home to Songdow?n University, K?mgang University, Tonghae University, Jong Jun Thaek University of Economics, W?nsan University of Medicine, Jo Gun Sil University of Engineering, W?nsan First University of Education, Ri Su Dok University, and the Maritime Patrol Academy, the commissioned officer's training school of the Korean People's Navy.
Wonsan has long been a popular tourism destination for both Koreans and international visitors. Attractions include Songdowon beach, the site of the Songdowon International Children's Union Camp, which maintains exceptionally clear and clean water. Pine trees are abundant in the surrounding area, and it has been designated a national sightseeing point. The nearby Kalma Peninsula is to feature a new hotel and a bathing area.
Announced in 2014, the Wonsan Special Tourist Zone is to cover more than 400 square km and boasts 40 historical relics, 10 sand beaches, 680 tourist attractions, four mineral springs and several bathing resorts and natural lakes. As part of this development the Masikryong Ski Resort was built in 2016. A $123m golf course is planned outside the city.
Famous scenic sites near W?nsan include My?ngsasimri, Lake Sijung, Chongsokchon and Mt. K?mgang. Temples in the area include the Sogwangsa and Anbyon Pohyonsa Buddhist temples. The German Church is the former church of the T?kw?n abbey, now used by the W?nsan University of Agriculture.
Largest cities or towns in North Korea
|Rank||Name||Administrative division||Pop.||Rank||Name||Administrative division||Pop.|
|1||Pyongyang||Pyongyang Capital City||3,255,288||11||Sunchon||South Pyongan||297,317|
|2||Hamhung||South Hamgyong||768,551||12||Pyongsong||South Pyongan||284,386|
|3||Chongjin||North Hamgyong||667,929||13||Haeju||South Hwanghae||273,300|
|4||Nampo||South Pyongan Province||366,815||14||Kanggye||Chagang||251,971|
|6||Sinuiju||North Pyongan||359,341||16||Tokchon||South Pyongan||237,133|
|7||Tanchon||South Hamgyong||345,875||17||Kimchaek||North Hamgyong||207,299|
|8||Kaechon||South Pyongan||319,554||18||Rason||Rason Special Economic Zone||196,954|
|9||Kaesong||North Hwanghae||308,440||19||Kusong||North Pyongan||196,515|