≡ Menu

Former Cheorwon Office of the Workers’ Party of Korea

Had some business in Yeoncheon today — just a hop, skip and a jump from Cheorwon — so I popped by the famous Nodongdangsa, or former Cheorwon office of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Sintan-ni Station

Sintan-ni Station

Sintan-ni Station

Yeoncheon’s Sintan-ni Station is the end of the line… at least in South Korea. Prior to the national division, the Seoul-Wonsan Line used to run all the way to, well, Wonsan. Now, it ends at Sintan-ni. With Mt. Godaesan nearby, you’ll find tons of hikers.

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers’ Party of Korea

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

Former Cheolwon Office of the Workers' Party of Korea (Nodongdangsa)

The former Cheorwon office of the Workers’ Party of Korea (KWP) is one the most powerful — and painful — reminders of Korea’s national division.

Constructed in Soviet style using Soviet building techniques, this concrete edifice was erected in 1946 to serve, as the name would suggest, as the regional headquarters of the KWP. The KWP, of course, is North Korea’s ruling party, and the Cheorwon area — located as it is north of the 38th parallel — originally fell under North Korean administration. Then came the Korean War, and when the armistice ending the fighting was finally signed in 1953, South Korean/UN forces controlled Cheorwon…after some brutal fighting in the so-called “Iron Triangle.”

The area where the ruins of the KWP office are located used to be the downtown of a fairly large town — before the war, Cheorwon was a major road and railway hub. During the war, however, the town was wiped off the map. And it was never rebuilt — Cheorwon’s downtown is now located quite some distance away, while the old downtown is nothing more than scattered ruins in the rice paddies. It’s all very surreal.

You have to give Soviet-style engineering credit, though — the KWP office managed to survive relatively intact, even if repeated artillery bombardment caused the roof to collapse. The bullet marks on the walls testify to the building’s violent history, although only part of it — to even build the structure, the North Koreans forced contributions from local residents and mobilized forced labor (although only KWP members were allowed to work on the interior). It’s said anti-communists were tortured and killed here as well.

UPDATE: Did I mention the Seungil-gyo Bridge (see also here) is nearby, too?

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • R. Elgin

    Some claim there are still tigers around Chorwon too. That office looks like a ancient Greek ruin. It’s very picturesque. The pictures are nice. I almost wish you had time to play with the light more (morning or evening)

    I just hope the governor does not try to develop the hell out of the place.

  • http://www.koramphoto.com Haksaeng

    This area was North Korea’s primary food production area before the war and its loss continues to be felt in the north. Just a 10-minute drive away from this building is the White Horse Hill monument (Paengma Koji). This 1952 battle was one of the most significant clashes between the ROK Army and the Chinese Army. During the 10-day fight, the hill changed hands some 20 times, with the South Koreans controlling it at the end. The Chinese lost around 10,000 men attempting to take the hill while the South Koreans lost approximately 3,500 men trying to keep it.

  • thehumper

    There was a terrific fight in this area and it started on the night of April 22, 1951 and was over in less than a week. As the opposition from the North took one tremendous beating in material and personnel. And the troops from the South then started their drive North once again.

  • Pingback: Korean War Ruins of Cheorwon | The Marmot's Hole

  • Pingback: Places In Korea: Godaesan Mountain In Gyeongi-do | ROK Drop

  • Pingback: 5 Ruins and Abandoned Places of North Korea | Urban Ghosts |