Pyongyang

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Pyongyang (Korean pronunciation: [pçɔɲaŋ], literally: "Flat Land") is the capital of North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), located on the Taedong River. According to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, it has a population of 3,255,388.[1]

The city was split from the South P'yŏngan 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.

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Etymology

One of its many historic names is Ryugyŏng (류경; 柳京), 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, Pyongyang has numerous willow trees, with many buildings and places having "Ryugyŏng" in their names. The most notable of these is the uncompleted Ryugyŏng Hotel.

Its other historic names include Kisŏng, Hwangsŏng, Rakrang, Sŏgyŏng, Sŏdo, Hogyŏng, and Changan. During the Japanese rule it was also known as Heijō, which is simply the Japanese reading of the Chinese characters 平壌 which comprise the name Pyongyang.

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