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Pyongyang

Pyongyang (Korean: 평양) is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was split from the South P'yŏngan province in 1946. It is administered as a directly governed city (chikhalsi), on the same level as provincial governments, not a special city (teukbyeolsi) as Seoul is in South Korea.

Satellite images of North Korea reveal that Pyongyang is virtually the only city in the entire country with a significant number of electric lights. The North Korean government, whose human rights record has been called "catastrophic" by Amnesty International, only allows outsiders to see certain portions of the city as part of a tightly-orchestrated propaganda effort. Even in Pyongyang, however, the abject poverty that afflicts the entire country is evident, as the immaculately maintained hotels and offices stand mostly empty, the streets are almost devoid of vehicles, and any deviation from the official route reveals dirt streets and slums.

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