Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!
city, southwestern North Korea. It lies just south of the 38th parallel and northwest of Seoul, South Korea. One of the oldest cities of Korea, Kaesong was the capital of the Koryo dynasty (935-1392). It was formerly called Songdo ("City of Pine"), so named because it is surrounded by pine-covered mountains: Songak (2,506 feet [764 m]), Osong (3,483 feet), Nam (584 feet), and Mansu (754 feet). Kaesong is a castle city enclosed by a stone wall with four gates. It was overrun by North Korean forces during the Korean War (1950-53), and in 1951 it was chosen as the site of the first truce talks. After the war Kaesong was included in North Korea. Although some of the city's Koryo-era monuments were destroyed during the war, many temples, tombs, and palaces remain, including some that have been restored. The medicinal herb ginseng is a famous product of the area that has been exported to China and Southeast Asian countries since ancient times; textiles have become the most important modern industry. Kaesong is also a notable cultural and educational centre. Pop. (1987 est.) 120,000.