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Special cities of Korea

In North and South Korea, Special cities, Metropolitan Cities, and Directly Governed Cities are cities that have a status equivalent to that of Provinces (Do). Hence, like the provinces, such cities are under the direct administration of the central government. As of 2003, there were three Directly Governed Cities (Chik'alshi; 직할시; 直轄市) and three other special provincial-level administrative regions in North Korea, and one Special City (Teukbyeolsi; 특별시; 特別市) and six Metropolitan Cities (Gwangyeoksi; 광역시; 廣域市) in South Korea. Before 1995, the five largest Gwangyeoksi in South Korea were classified as Chik'alshi (as it was romanized at the time; now spelled Jikhalsi in the Revised Romanization of Korean).

In the following tables, "Split time" means "When the city split from the province it was located in."

Table of contents
1 North Korea
2 South Korea
3 See also

North Korea

Table 1: Directly Governed Cities and Special Administrative Regions of North Korea

(Note: North Korea uses McCune-Reischauer Romanization.)

Transliteration Han'gŭl Hanja Split time Province split from
P'yŏngyang Chik'alshi 평양 직할시 平壤 直轄市 S. Pyŏngan
Namp'o Chik'alshi 남포 직할시 南浦 直轄市 S. Pyŏngan
Rajin (Rajin-Sŏnbong) Chik'alshi 라선 (라진-선봉) 직할시 羅津 (羅津-先鋒) 直轄市 N. Hamgyŏng
Shinŭiju T'eukpyŏl Haengjŏnggu
(Shinŭiju Special Administrative Region)
신의주 특별 행정구 新義州特別行政區 N. Pyŏngan
Kaesŏng Kong-ŏp Chigu
(Kaesŏng Industrial Region)
개성 공업 지구 開城工業地區 Formerly the North Korean section of Kyŏnggi Province
Kŭmgang-san Kwangwang Chigu
(Kŭmgang-san Tourist Region)
금강산 관광 지구 金剛山觀光地區 Kangwŏn

Note: Ch'ŏngjin (청진; 淸津) used to be a separately administered city, but is now part of North Hamgyŏng Province. The source for the above information is Chosun Ilbo's page (but is only available in Korean).

South Korea

Table 2: Special Cities and Metropolitan Cities of South Korea

Note: South Korea uses the Revised Romanization of Korean.

Transliteration Hangeul Hanja Split time Province split from
Seoul Teukbyeolsi 서울 특별시 See note below 1952 Gyeonggi
Busan Gwangyeoksi 부산 광역시 釜山廣域市 January 1, 1963 S. Gyeongsang
Daegu Gwangyeoksi 대구 광역시 大邱廣域市 1985 N. Gyeongsang
Incheon Gwangyeoksi 인천 광역시 仁川廣域市 1985 Gyeonggi
Gwangju Gwangyeoksi 광주 광역시 光州廣域市 1987 S. Jeolla
Daejeon Gwangyeoksi 대전 광역시 大田廣域市 1989 S. Chungcheong
Ulsan Gwangyeoksi 울산 광역시 蔚山廣域市 July 15, 1997 S. Gyeongsang

Note: There is no Hanja for "Seoul," but in Chinese, it is written by its Joseon Dynasty name Hanseong (漢城). As a prefix, the character gyeong (京) is used, which means "capital" and comes from Gyeongseong (Japanese Keijo), the name of the city during the Japanese Colonial Period.

See also