|• Revised Romanization||Hongcheon-gun|
Location in South Korea
|Administrative divisions||1 eup, 9 myeon|
|• Total||1,817.9 km2 (701.9 sq mi)|
Hongcheon (Hongcheon-gun) is a county and city in Gangwon Province, South Korea. The city lies on the northern bank of the Hongcheon River, southeast of Chuncheon. The terrain of the county is mainly mountainous and contains hot springs in the Hongcheong River valley. The county produces ginseng, corn, and vegetables. As of 2012 the county had a population of 70,401 people (including foreigners) in 29,894 households.
Hongcheon's historic name was BulRyeokChunHyeon during the rule of Goguryeo. King Gyeongduk of Silla changed the name to YoungHyeon of Sak-Ju, In 1043, it was named Hongcheon during the reign of King In-Jong. Following the independence of the country on 15 August 1945, many administrative changes were made, affecting the jurisdiction of various units under its control.
The emblem of Hongcheon County represents it as the “County of Culture and Tourism”. It also signifies “patriotism and the love of one's home. To represent these aspects, the pictorial depiction consist of a leaf and dew—symbolic of the clean environment.
Hongcheon is located in Gangwon Province. The county, located in the middle of the peninsula, is the largest in Korea with an area of about 1,818 square kilometres (702 sq mi) and is reported to be three times the size of Seoul. It is bounded by Chuncheon city on the north, the Inje County and Yangyang County to the northeast, by Gapyeong County of Gyeonggi-do to the west, by Hoengseong and Pyeongchang counties to the north, and Pyeongchang county to the south. The county is a middle level mountainous region, an off shoot of the Baegdu mountain range. The eastern end of the mountain range, where Myeonggae village and Nae township are located, runs in east-west direction for a length of 93.1 km The western part of the mountain range which has Dongmak village and Seotown extends over a length of 39.4 km in an east west direction. While the southern part of the hill range covers the Sidong village and the Nam town, the northern part has Jangnam village and Duchon township. The Palbong Mountain (327.4 m) has scenic views of the course of the Hongcheon River; the river forms white sandy banks. The Hongcheon river system which rises the Taebaek mountain watershed, joins the Hongcheon River which forms a small plain area at Seorak-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do. It then flows in to the Cheongpyeong Dam in Gyeonggi Province. Gachilbong Sambong Spring is located in Gwangwon-ri, Nae-myeon and originates from the Palbong Mountain; Garyeong Waterfall is located in Waya-ri, Naechon-myeon at the foot of Mt. Baekam (1,099m) which drops through rapids over a height of 50 m. The area is known for medicinal herbs, wild flowers and mountain birds.
The bus terminal provides connections with Gimpo and Incheon airports. A bus ride from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Hongcheon is approximately 2 hours. Naerincheon, a small river, crosses Hongcheon and is the only one in the country which flows north. Nearby is the Daemyung Vivaldi Park Ski World, a ski resort (with 13 ski runs, each with a music theme) and water park in the mountains. Local football club Hongcheon Idu FC play their games at Hongcheon Public Park.
Climatic conditions are considered extreme as its location is away from the sea. The minimum temperature recorded is －7.3℃ in January. The climatic data is given in the table below.
|Climate data for Hongcheon (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−5.5
|Average low °C (°F)||−11.5
|Precipitation mm (inches)||20.4
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||6.2||6.0||7.6||7.1||8.4||9.8||14.9||13.9||8.0||5.4||7.0||6.4||100.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||161.1||168.7||195.7||214.6||224.8||204.0||159.3||175.7||175.8||182.8||145.7||150.5||2,163.7|
|Source: Korea Meteorological Administration|
Flora and fauna
Daisy fleabane, a native plant of North America, was inadvertently introduced to Korea in the 1990s and is found in Hongcheon County also. A strange spot on its leaf was found in daisy fleabanes in June 2011. This was tested in the laboratory and found to be caused by a pest identified as Septoria erigerontis.
The dominant crop grown in the country is called the Sura rice. The county, with its widely varying temperatures between day and night times, and with clean and un polluted water, provides an ideal environmental condition idel to grow this crop which is considered to be of very high quality with cooked rice retaining its taste for much longer than other species of rice. It is grown in 38% of the land under cultivation in the county. It is also disease resistant and can be stored for a long time.
The county is noted for its beef production. With favorable climatic conditions, the male calves (bred by artificial insemination) are the source of the beef. They are fed alcohol-fermented feed which is reported to reduce the cholesterol content and give flavor to the beef. The calves are raised for minimum of 27 months.
The four cultural festivals celebrated in Hongcheon are the Chal Oksusu Festival, Mugunghwa, Seunghi Choi Dance, and Ginseng Festival. The Mugunghwa Festival is festival honouring the memory of Namgung Eok, who was a patriot, saintly person, a statesman and a journalist of Honkeong. The Seunghi Choi Dance Festival is when traditional dances of Korea are performed. It is named after dancer Choi Seung-hi who created a new dance form based on the traditional form, and she was also proficient in modern western dance and ballet. She hailed from Hongcheon, and in her honour, this dance festival is held every year when her dance numbers are performed by artists. The Hongcheon Ginseng Festival was first held in 2003 and is held annually in October to celebrate the medicinal properties of ginseng, considered a miracle medicine in Korea. Traditional Taekkyeon and Dudrak performances are part of the festivities.
The Korean peninsula has been subject to archaeological excavations for establishing obsidian (a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock) at many Paleolithic sites. One such site excavated is located in Hongcheon county, known as Hahwageri III. Several samples collected from the site have been subject to carbon dating. In the first cultural layer, out of the two layers established during the excavations, the finds consists of microliths of obsidian and quartz crystal which are embedded in microblade cores. In addition, arrowheads, cores, anvils, hammerstones and pecking tools have also been recovered, apart from a large cache of obsidian artifacts.
The Suta Temple of Mt Gongjak is a Buddhist shrine at the foot of the Gongjak Mountain which appears like a peacock spreading its wings and its flora consists of azalea and ancient pine trees. It is a national monument that was built in 708, in stone, by the Buddhist priest WonHyo during the reign of King SeongDeok, the 33rd King of Silla.
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