Last updated
Korean transcription(s)
   Chosŏn'gŭl 강계시
   Hancha 江界市
   McCune-Reischauer Kanggye-si
   Revised Romanization Ganggye-si
Fabrica Procesamiento Madera Kanggye (2).jpg
Factory in Kanggye
DPRK2006 Chagang-Kanggye.PNG
Map of Chagang showing the location of Kanggye
North Korea adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within North Korea
Coordinates: 40°58′N126°36′E / 40.967°N 126.600°E / 40.967; 126.600
CountryFlag of North Korea.svg  North Korea
Province Chagang Province
Administrative divisions 34 dong, 2 ri
  Total263.667 km2 (101.802 sq mi)
Time zone UTC+9 (Pyongyang Time)

Kanggye (Korean pronunciation:  [kɐŋ.ɡje] ) is the provincial capital of Chagang, North Korea and has a population of 251,971. Because of its strategic importance, derived from its topography, it has been of military interest from the time of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).



In December 1949, Kanggye-myon was promoted to Kanggye-si. [1]

During the Korean War, after being driven from Pyongyang, Kim Il Sung and his government temporarily moved the capital to Kanggye after first moving temporarily to Sinuiju. [2] [3] The city was firebombed in November 1950 on American general Douglas MacArthur's orders after the Chinese People's Volunteer Army turned the course of the war; at least 65% of the city was destroyed. [4] The following month Kim presided over a plenum of the cabinet at Kanggye, where he assigned blame for what he claimed were military failures during the losing phase of the war. [5]

Workers' Party general secretary Kim Jong-il toured facilities at Kanggye and the surrounding area in January 1998 amid the North Korean famine. Impressed by the people's success in building minor power stations and improving factories despite hardships, he urged other provinces to emulate the "Kanggye spirit." [6]


Kanggye gets its name, "river junction," from the Changja River, which flows through the city, and two tributaries. The city is located in a basin, and is hence surrounded by mountains. The main mountain ranges are the Nangnim and Gangnam. [7]


Kanggye has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dwa).

Climate data for Kanggye (1991–2020)
Average high °C (°F)−4.9
Daily mean °C (°F)−12.6
Average low °C (°F)−18.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)10.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average snowy days7.
Average relative humidity (%)78.373.668.665.368.474.779.280.377.373.877.078.674.6
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration [8]

Administrative divisions

Kanggye is divided into 34 tong (neighbourhoods) and two ri (villages): [1]

  • Changja-dong 장자동(將子洞)
  • Ch'ungsŏng-dong 충성동(忠誠洞)
  • Hyangro-dong 향로동(香爐洞)
  • Hŭngju-dong 흥주동(興洲洞)
  • Kangsŏ-dong 강서동(江西洞)
  • Koyŏng 1-dong 고영1동(古營一洞)
  • Koyŏng 2-dong 고영2동(古營二洞)
  • Konggwi-dong 공귀동(公貴洞)
  • Kong'in-dong 공인동(公仁洞)
  • Mansu-dong 만수동(萬壽洞)
  • Nammun-dong 남문동(南門洞)
  • Namsan-dong 남산동(南山洞)
  • Ryu-dong 류동(柳洞)
  • Sinmun-dong 신문동(新門洞)
  • Sŏsan-dong 서산동(西山洞)
  • Sŏkcho-dong 석조동(石造洞)
  • Sŏkhyŏn-dong 석현동(石峴洞)
  • Such'im-dong 수침동(水砧洞)
  • Taeŭng-dong 대응동(大應洞)
  • Tŏksan-dong 독산동(獨山洞)
  • Tongbu-dong 동부동(東部洞)
  • Tongmun-dong 동문동(東門洞)
  • Ŭijin-dong 의진동(義眞洞)
  • Ŭnjŏng-dong 은정동(恩情洞)
  • Oeryong-dong 외룡동(外龍洞)
  • Puch'ang-dong 부창동(府倉洞)
  • Pukmun-dong 북문동(北門洞)
  • Rodongja-dong 로동자동(勞動者洞)
  • Yŏnp'ung-dong 연풍동(淵豊洞)
  • Yŏnsŏk-dong 연석동(煙石洞)
  • Sinhŭng-ri 신흥리(新興里)
  • Tuhŭng-ri 두흥리(斗興里)
  • Yahak-tong 야학동(野鶴洞)
  • Yŏnju-dong 연주동(煙州洞)
  • Namch'ŏn-dong 남천동(南川洞)
  • Naeryong-dong 내룡동(內龍洞)


Kanggye is a transportation hub, connected to other cities by road, rail and air. It lies at the junction of the Kanggye and Manp'o Lines. Commuter trains run on the Manpo line between Kanggye and Ssangbangdong stations. In addition, highways connect it to Pyongyang and other locations, with the road network of Chagang province being centered on the city. The city is located near a military and civilian dual-purpose air station. [9]

Kanggye has a trolleybus system, opened on April 17, 1992, with one 12 km line running from Changja-dong to Kong'in-dong, following the embankment of the Changja and Puchon rivers. Up until 2009 it had 6 full length and 2 medium trolleybuses; in the 2010s 5 full length and 1 medium trolleybus remained. In 2020, the northern loop was built into a small depot. [10]


A local radio station called "Kanggye Broadcasting (Korean: 강계방송)", originally founded in 1947 as a local broadcasting station for North Pyongan Province, which later became a local broadcasting station for Chagang Province in 1949. It is operated by the Chagang Province Broadcasting Committee (Korean: 자강도 방송위원회). It airs programs that covering topics such as ideological education or local weather information. [11]


Kanggye University of Education, Kanggye University of Technology, and the Kanggye University of Medicine are located in the city.

Places of tourist interest include Inphung Pavilion and Mount Ryonhwa. Tourist attractions have been developed to show the mountainous nature of the city.

The city has more than 50 various medical centres including an oral care and a maternity hospital. [12]


From 1945, the manufacturing industry developed rapidly.

Kanggye has a mining industry producing copper, zinc ore, coal and graphite.

Kanggye hosts one of the main timber processing factories of Chagang province and North Korea. The city has various light industry along with production of construction, electrical and precision machinery. The pencils produced, which are also exported, have 'national significance'. The city also has agricultural, fruit, vegetable and livestock production. [13]

Electricity production

The city has a large number of hydropower plants due to its location near a number of rivers. The first hydropower station in a series of them is called Hungju No.1 Youth Power Station, is located 3.5 km north of Kanggye. It is supported by the Ryongrim dam, which does not have a power station attached to it. [14] This allows a careful management of the water level to ensure efficient operation. [15] This is followed by the Hungju Youth Power Station No. 2 and 3. No.2 was completed in 2007 and No.3 was completed by February 2019, fitted with three generator turbines. [14]

There are also a series of four small scale hydropower plants on the Pukchon river. [16]

No.26 General Plant

The No.26 factory is the largest underground military facility in Korea. The plant manufactures ammunition which has been exported to Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt. It employs more than 20,000 workers and can produce 126,000 mortar rounds and 1.76 million rounds of rifle ammunition per year. On November 30, 1991, up to a thousand people were allegedly killed after a massive explosion at the plant. [17] South Korean sources put the number of fatalities at six times that amount or more based on the claims of survivors of the incident. [18]

See also

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Further reading

Coordinates: 40°58′N126°36′E / 40.967°N 126.600°E / 40.967; 126.600