Society / Culture
Mt. Ryongak (1)
Mt. Ryongak is situated between Ryongaksan-dong, Ryongsan-dong and Ryongbong-ri in Mangyongdae District, Pyongyang. Standing 292 m above sea level, the mountain is topped by a curiously-shaped rocky cliff. Various kinds of flowers bloom from season to season, green forests, scarlet-tinged maple leaves in autumn and the like make up superb scenery. Small wonder that the mountain is known as “Mt. Kumgang in Pyongyang.” The name of Ryongak comes from the shape of the mountain which looks like a dragon on the point of soaring into the air. Possessed of 20-odd peaks of extraordinary beauty—including Tae and Sol peaks—and tens of well-wooded valleys, the mountain has trimmed up its features for ages.
At present over 600 species of plants are distributed there. Forests are mostly made up of pine trees, and there are also some mixed forests including oak trees. Also visible are rare plants that consist in only one species of one genus in Korea. In spring the fragrant smell of flowers floats in the air and in autumn the whole mountain is ablaze with autumnal tints, thus presenting an enchanting view.
Mt. Ryongak has a number of important trees. One of them is the Ryongaksan zelkova which stands next to the Pobun Hermitage. The 500-odd-year-old tree was designated as State Natural Monument No. 19 for its curious shape and pedagogical importance. It is 18 m tall, its trunk being 5 m round at the breast height and its bottom girth 7.1 m. Its trunk forks off into three at the height of 6 m. Another monumental tree is Toona sinensis Roem. It has been growing since around the year 1900. It was designated as State Natural Monument No. 20 because it indicates the northern limit of the kind’s distribution in the western region of Korea and it is of significance in conducting research into its specific features related to biology and botanical distribution and in giving an additional charm to the local scenery. It is 12 m high, its girth being 1.9 m at the bottom and approximately 1.5 m at the breast height. Speaking of the monumental ginkgo tree in Mt. Ryongak, it has grown for over 500 years along with the Pobun Hermitage boasting of its long history. At first three young ginkgo trees were planted, but in the course of their growth over a long period of time, these trees gradually put themselves together to get into one. The monument is of great importance not only in scientific research but also in view of the scenery of Mt. Ryongak. Accordingly, it was designated as State Natural Monument No. 472. It is 28 m high and the trunk is 3.7 m round at the bottom. The Sophora japonica L., standing in front of the Pobun Hermitage, has grown spontaneously since around the year 1840. Designated as State Natural Monument No. 22 on account of its importance in scientific research, it is now under protection. It is 16.5 m high, its bottom girth being 2.6 m and its girth at the breast height 2.2 m. The main branches come out at the height of 4.5 m and the crown looks like a round umbrella.