Koryo Songgyungwan University (Light Industry), Communist University and Art College are located in Kaesŏng. The Koryo Museum, housed in the city's old Confucian academy, contains many priceless Koryo arts and cultural relics (although many are copies, with the originals held in the vaults of the Korean Central History Museum in Pyongyang. As the former capital of the Koryo dynasty, the tombs of almost all of the Koryo kings are located in the area, though most are not accessible; the heavily reconstructed Hyollung Royal Tomb, belonging to the dynasty's founder, Taejo, is located to the west of the city in Kaepung-gun. Other notable tombs include those of kings Hyejong (the Sollung Royal Tomb), Kyongjong (Yongrung), Songjong (Kangrung), Hyonjong (Sollung), Munjong (Kyongrung), and Kongmin (Hyonjongrung). Kaesong also contains north Korea's only two royal tombs dating to the Joseon dynasty; the Hurung Royal Tomb, belonging to the dynasty's second king, Jongjong, and the Cherung Royal Tomb, containing the remains of Queen Sinui, wife of the dynasty's founder, Yi Songgye. The two final tombs, despite belonging to members of the Joseon royal family, were excluded from the World Heritage listed "Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty because of their location in North Korea.
See also: Korean regional cuisine
As Kaesong was the capital of Goryeo with almost 500 years of rule, its culinary culture was highly developed. The luxurious style of Kaesong cuisine is frequently compared with those of Seoul cuisine and Jeolla cuisine. Kaesong cuisine was traditionally treated as part of Gyeonggi cuisine, since Kaesong belonged to Gyeonggi province until 1950. However, it has been incorporated into the administration of North Korea after the Korean War while Gyeonggi province is administered by South Korea. Bossam kimchi (wrapped kimchi), pyeonsu (summer mandu in square shape),sinseollo (royal casserole), seolleongtang (beef tripe soup), chueotang (mudfish soup), joraengi tteokguk (rice cake soup), umegi (tteok covered with syrup), and gyeongdan (ball-shaped tteok) are representative Kaesong dishes. Umegi, also called Kaesong juak is a holiday food of Kaesong, and known for the delicate style with the sweet and nutty taste. The dish is made by kneading a mixture of rice flour and glutinous rice flour with warm water, by shaping the dough into balls with either one pine nut or jujube, by frying and coating them with syrup.
See also: Kaesong Industrial Region
With its topography, climate, soil conditions, Kaesong has advantageous natural conditions for agricultural productions. The water supply system is established with 18 reservoirs including Songdo Reservoir built for agricultural advances and about 150 pumping stations as well as hundreds of dammed pools. The cultivated land accounts for the 27 percentage of Kaesong, and rice, maize, soybeans, wheat, and barley are the main crops. Among them, rice production accounts for the 60 percentage of the whole grain production, and Kaepung and Panmun are the two primary regions, producing more than 70 percentage of the rice production. In addition, vegetable and fruit cultivation including peach, apple and persimmon, livestock farming, and sericulture are active. Peach is a local specialty of Kaesong, and especially white peach is famous, so the production of the latter accounts for more than 25 percentage of the gross fruit production. The counties of Kaepung-gun and Panmun-gun are also known for the good quality of Korean ginseng called Goryeo Insam, and the active ginseng cultivation. The processing and exporting the product take place around the counties.
Kaesŏng is DPRK's light industry centre. The urban district is equipped with a jewel processing factory, ginseng processing factory and an embroidery factory. Since the Goryeo period, Kaesong had been a center of handcrafts such as Goryeo porcelain, and commerce while the textile industry has been the primary business along with the production of grocery goods, daily general goods, and ginseng products after the division into the two states. The food processing industry ranks the right next to the textile business, mainly producing jang (soybean-based condiments), oil, canned foods, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and others. In addition, resin, timber, handicrafts, pottery, shoes, school supplies, musical instruments, and glass are produced. Kaesong has factories for producing agricultural machines and tractor repair. As of 2002, the city had the headquarters of the Central Bank of North Korea and branches in Kapung and Panmun counties as financial institutions.
The DPRK and South Korea jointly operate an industral complex in the Kaesong Industrial Region. The industrial park, built around 2005, employs over 53,400 North Koreans at over 120 South Korean textile and other labor-intensive factories. As of early 2013, approximately 887 South Koreans worked in the complex, which produced an estimated $470 million of goods in 2012, and the complex employed a sixth of Kaesong's working people.
See also: Tourism in North Korea
Kaesong is a major tourist destination for foreign visitors to North Korea, and one of only two locations in North Korea accessible from the south. Many Koryo-era sites are located in Kaesong, including the Kaesong Namdaemun gate, the Songgyungwan Confucian Academy, now the Koryo Museum, and the Sonjuk Bridge and Pyochung Pavilion. Less-known sites include Kwandok Pavilion, the ruined Koryo-era Manwoldae Palace, Anhwa Temple, Sungyang Hall, Mokchong Hall, and the Kaesong Chomsongdae (개성 첨성대; 開城 瞻星臺) observatory. Located to the west of the city are the tombs of Kings Kongmin and Wanggon; twenty-four km north of Kaesong is Taehungsan Fortress, a Koguryo satellite fortress built to protect Pyongyang. This castle contains the Kwanum and Taehung Temples. The famous Pakyon Falls are located in the area, as well as a large, recently discovered Koryo-dynasty Buddha carved into the stone on Mt. Chonma. Most tourists to Kaesong are put in the traditional Kaesong Folk Hotel, housed in 19 traditional hanok courtyard houses.
Seonggyungwan, one kilometer north of Seonjukgyo bridge is a representative traditional educational institution in Kaesong. It was founded in the neighborhood of Gukja-dong with the name of "Gukjagam (국자감; 國子監)" in 992 during the reign of King Seongjong of Goryeo, which ignited Confucian studies in Korea. Its name was changed to Gukhak (국학; 國學) in the reign of King Chungnyeol, and was referred to as Seonggyungwan. In 1367, the 16th year of King Gongmin's reign, the structure was revamped and Yi Saek, and Jeong Mong-ju, Confucian scholars of the time taught there as professors. In 1592, the 25th year of King Seonjo's reign during the Joseon Dynasty, Kim Yuk reconstructed the institution which was burned down by the Japanese during the Imjin War.
The first modern school that appeared in Kaesong was Hanyeong Seowon (한영서원; 韓英書院), or Anglo-Korean School established by Yun Chi-ho in 1906, with the help of American missionary Mr. Wasson, and Mr. Candler. It obtained authorization as Songdo High School from Governor-General of Korea in 1917, and expanded to the Songdo School Foundation in 1950 with the accreditation for the establishment of Songdo Middle School and Songdo College of Pharmacy, the latter of which produced 40 graduates. However, when the Korean War occurred, the foundation was moved to Incheon, and reconstructed Songdo Middle and High Schools in 1953 which still exist to the present.
As of 2002, Kaesong had 80 each public elementary schools which scattered in each unit of ri (village), 60 middle-high schools, 3 colleges and 3 universities such as Songdo University of Politics, Kaesong University of Education, and Kaesong Communist University.
Kaesŏng is connected to Pyongyang and other cities by rail and highways. The city's main railway station is Kaesong Station, which is on the Pyongbu Line.
Peru (Cusco) (1990),
Nepal (Kathmandu) (1992),
People born in Kaesong:
Uicheon (1055-1191), founder of the Chontae Buddhist sect,
Choe Chung-hon (1149-1219), a military ruler of Korea during the Koryo Dynasty,
Choe U (died 1249), general of the Koryo Dynasty, son of Choe Chung-Hon,
Hwang Hui (1363-1452), prime minister of the Choson Dynasty,
Hwang Jin-i (1515-1550), famous Kisaeng and poet,
K. W. Lee (1928-), Korean-American print journalist,
Won Pyong Oh (1929-), South Korean zoologist,
Kim Hyon-hui (1962-), former North Korean agent, responsible for the Korean Air Flight 858 bombing in 1987, which killed 115 people
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license