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File: Pyongyang

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Uploaded:
08.03.13
Modified:
08.03.13
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Pyongyang North KoreanPyongyang (literally: "Flat Land") is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country.

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Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was split from the South P'yongan province in 1946. It is administered as a directly governed city (chikhalsi), on the same level as provincial governments, not a special city (teukbyeolsi) as Seoul is in South Korea.

"Pyongyang" means literally "Flat Land", in Korean. One of Pyongyang's many historic names is Ryugyong, or "capital of willows", as willow trees have always been numerous throughout the city's history, and many poems have been written about these willows. Even today, the city has numerous willow trees, with many buildings and places having "Ryugyong" in their names. The most notable of these is the uncompleted Ryugyong Hotel. The city's other historic names include Kisong, Hwangsong, Rakrang, Sogyong, Sodo, Hogyong, and Changan. During the early 20th century, Pyongyang came to be known among missionaries as being the "Jerusalem of the East", due to its historical status as being a stronghold of Christianity, namely Protestantism.

For the first few decades of North Korea’s history, Pyongyang was not officially considered the capital of the country. The North Korean government officially regarded itself the sole legitimate government of the entire Korean peninsula, so until 1972, the North Korean Constitution designated Seoul as the country's capital. According to the official discourse of the time, Seoul was considered to be under the occupation of the American forces and their South Korean client. Pyongyang, in this scheme of things, was merely the provisional headquarters of the peninsula’s sole government, to be used only until the eventual liberation of Seoul. In 1972, Pyongyang was officially promoted to the status of national capital.

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