Hamhung

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Hamhung
함흥시
Municipal City
Korean transcription(s)
 • Chosŏn'gŭl
 • Hancha
 • McCune-Reischauer Hamhŭng-si
 • Revised Romanization Hamheung-si
A view of Hamhung from the Kim Il-sung Monument
A view of Hamhung from the Kim Il-sung Monument
Hamhung is located in North Korea
Hamhung
Hamhung
Coordinates: 39°55′N 127°32′E / 39.917°N 127.533°E / 39.917; 127.533
Country  North Korea
Region Kwannam
Area
 • Total 330 km2 (130 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Total 768,551
 • Dialect Hamgyŏng

Hamhŭng (Hamhŭng-si; Korean pronunciation: [hamhɯŋ ɕʰi]) is North Korea's second largest city, and the capital of South Hamgyŏng Province. In late 2005, nearby Hŭngnam was made a ward (kuyŏk) within Hamhŭng-si.[1] It has a population of 768,551 as of 2008.[2]

Geography[edit]

Hamhŭng is on the left branch of the Sŏngch'ŏn River, on the eastern part of the Hamhŭng plain (함흥평야), in South Hamgyŏng Province, northeast North Korea. The Tonghŭngsan is 319 m high.

History[edit]

Yi Sung-ke, founder of the Yi Dynasty, retired to the city after a successful palace coup by his son Yi Bang-won in 1400. Though his son sent envoys to reconcile, his father had them all killed. A modern Korean expression, King's envoy to Hamheung (Hamheungchasa), refers to a person who goes off on a journey but is never heard from again.[3]

The city was heavily destroyed (80–90%) during the Korean War. From 1955–1962, Hamhŭng was the object of a large-scale program of reconstruction and development by East Germany including the build-up of various construction-related industries and intense training measures for Korean construction workers, engineers, city planners and architects. The project ended two years earlier than scheduled and with a low profile because of the Sino-Soviet conflict and the opposing positions that North Korea and East Germany took on that issue.[4]

From 1960 to 1967, Hamhŭng was administered separately from South Hamgyŏng as a Directly Governed City (Chikhalsi), but before 1960, and since 1967, the city has been part of South Hamgyŏng Province.

In 1995, Hamhŭng witnessed, thus far, one of the only documented challenges to the North Korean government when famine-ravaged soldiers began a march toward Pyongyang.[citation needed] The revolt was quelled and the unit of soldiers was disbanded.[citation needed]

The North Korean famine of the 1990s appears to have had a disproportionate effect on the people of Hamhung. Andrew Natsios, a former aid worker, USAID Administrator, and author of The Great North Korean Famine, described Hamhung as "the city most devastated by [the] famine."[5] Contemporary published reports from The Washington Post[6] and Reuters[7] describe the presence of numerous fresh graves on the surrounding hillsides, and report that many of Hamhung's children were stunted by malnutrition. One survivor claimed that more than 10% of the city's population died, with another 10% fleeing the city in search of food.[8] Despite previously being closed to foreigners, foreign nationals can now travel to Hamhung through the few approved North Korean tour operators."[9]

There is speculation that Hamhung, with its high proportion of chemists and the site of a chemical-industrial complex built by the Japanese during World War II, is the center for North Korea's methamphetamine production.[10]

Economy[edit]

Hamhŭng is an important chemical industry center in the DPRK. It is an industrial city which serves as a major port for North Korean foreign trade. Production includes textiles (particularly vinalon), metalware, machinery, refined oil and processed food.

Prison camps[edit]

Two large reeducation camps are located near Hamhung: Kyo-hwa-so No. 9 is in northeastern Hamhung, Kyo-hwa-so No. 22 is in Yonggwang County north of Hamhung.[11]

Transportation[edit]

The city is a transportation hub, connecting various eastern ports and the northern interior area. Hamhung Station is on the Pyongra Line railway.

Culture[edit]

It has a national museum and a branch academy of science.

Hamhŭng is home to the Hamhŭng University of Education, Hamhŭng University of Pharmacy, Hamhŭng University of Chemistry and Hamhŭng University of Medicine. Professional colleges in Hamhǔng include the Hamhǔng College of Quality Control, the Hamhŭng Hydrographic and Power College, and the Hamhǔng College of Electronics and Automation.

Hamhŭng also hosts the Hamhŭng Grand Theatre the largest theatre in North Korea.[12]

Food[edit]

Hamhŭng is famous for its naengmyŏn.

People born in Hamhŭng[edit]

See also[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ 행정구역 개편 일지. NKChosun (in Korean). Retrieved 2006-04-29. 
  2. ^ United Nations Statistics Division; 2008 Census of Population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted on 1–15 October 2008 (pdf-file) Retrieved on 2009-03-18.
  3. ^ "Characters". How Koreans Talk. UnhengNamu. 2002. pp. 094–095. ISBN 89-87976-95-5. 
  4. ^ For more information on the post-War reconstruction project, see Frank, Rüdiger (December 1996). Die DDR und Nordkorea. Der Wiederaufbau der Stadt Hamhŭng von 1954–1962 (in German). Aachen: Shaker. ISBN 3-8265-5472-8. 
  5. ^ "The Politics of Famine in North Korea". U.S. Institute of Peace. Retrieved 2009-01-31. [dead link]
  6. ^ Richburg, Keith B. (1997-10-19). "Beyond a Wall of Secrecy, Devastation". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  7. ^ "North Korea: Whole Generation of Children Affected by North Korean Famine.". Reuters. 1999-05-19. 
  8. ^ http://hamhung.co.tv/
  9. ^ "Recent news.". U.S. Institute of Peace. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  10. ^ Stone Fish, Isaac (20 June 2011). "North Korea's Addicting Export: Crystal Meth". Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  11. ^ "The Hidden Gulag – Exposing Crimes against Humanity in North Korea’s Vast Prison System (p. 93 - 100)". The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  12. ^ Korea Travel Guide. Lonely Planet. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Dormels, Rainer. North Korea's Cities: Industrial facilities, internal structures and typification. Jimoondang, 2014. ISBN 978-89-6297-167-5

External links[edit]

  • North Korea Uncovered, (North Korea Google Earth) Maps out Hamhung's economic infrastructure, including railways, hotels, tourist destinations, cultural facilities, ports, and electricity grid on Google Earth.
  • Hamhung, Haunted City, Compares newly revealed Google Earth imagery of Hamhung—imagery which reveals many of the hills around the city to be packed with graves—with published reports of severe famine in Hamhung during the 1990s.
  • Young Pioneer Tours, Information on the opening up of Hamhung to tourists, and details on tours there.
  • City profile of Hamhung

Coordinates: 39°55′N 127°32′E / 39.917°N 127.533°E / 39.917; 127.533