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Special cities of Korea

Special cities in Korea are cities that have status equivalent to the provinces of Korea (do). Hence, like the provinces, the special cities are under direct administration from the central government. There are four special cities in North Korea (see Table 1) and seven in South Korea (Table 2).

Special cities in South Korea were known as jikhalsi ("directly administrated city", 직할시; 直轄市) until January 1, 1995, when they were changed to gwang-yeog-si ("metropolitan city", 광역시; 廣域市). Seoul is a teugbyeolsi ("capital metropolitan city", 특별시; 特別市), and had the status as a distinguished special city, even when it was called jikhalsi like the other special cities.

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

Table 1: Special cities of North Korea

Transliteration Han'gŭl Hanja Split time
Ch'ŏngjin-shi[?] 청진시 淸津市
Kaesŏn-shi[?] 개성시 開城市
Namp'o-shi[?] 남포시 南浦市
P'yŏngyang-shi 평양시 平壤市

Table 2: Special cities of South Korea

Transliteration Hangeul Hanja Split time
Seoul teugbyeolsi 서울특별시 漢城特別市 1952
Busan gwang-yeogsi 부산광역시 釜山廣域市 January 1, 1963
Daegu gwang-yeogsi[?] 대구광역시 大邱廣域市 1985
Daejeon gwang-yeogsi[?] 대전광역시 大田廣域市 ~ 1990
Gwangju gwang-yeogsi[?] 광주광역시 光州廣域市 1987
Incheon gwang-yeogsi 인천광역시 仁川廣域市 1985
Ulsan-gwang-yeogsi[?] 울산광역시 蔚山廣域市 July 15, 1997

See also: List of cities in South Korea, List of cities in North Korea



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