the sacred "White-Head Mountain" of the Far-North
Left: The peak from above, frozen in winter,
with the Chinese name of Cheonji Lake
displayed, from a geography website.
|I have not yet been there; these images are from North Korean tourism brochures.
|Cheonji-ho in the winter, a sight few people ever get to see (KNTO photos)
The Korean name Baekdu-san / 백두산 / 白頭山 means "White-Head Mountain", because the
summit area is never without some snow-ice-cover and the treeless crags there are grey-white,
while white is the most sacred color to Koreans; and "head" is fairly commonly used for the
Korean names of prominent peaks, such as "Yongdu-san" [Dragon's-head Mtn], there is a
sense of seniority or leadership implied. 白頭山 is pronounced in Chinese "Baitou-shan".
North Korea's southern and eastern sector of the vast slopes and great lake (60%~40%,
depending on which source you consult), is now preserved and used for (mostly domestic)
tourism as the DPRK's "Baekdu-san National Park".
However, its contemporary name to the Chinese is Changbai-shan / 长白山 or 長白山 similarly
meaning "Always-White Mountain". In the Manchu language it is "Golmin Shanggiyan Alin",
with the same meaning as in Chinese, "Perpetually-White Mountain". Their northern and
western sector of the massive mountain (40%~60%, depending on which source you consult),
is now preserved and used for tourism as China's "Changbai-shan National Park".
|the Geumgang-pokpo [Diamond Waterfall] spills out of Cheonji Lake and creates the Duman-gang
[Tumen River] which runs east as Korea's natural border with northernmost China and then Russia
|statues at a Folk-Daoist shrine along the trail to the peaks on the Chinese side
the Jangbaek-pokpo [Guardian-White Waterfall]
pours from the western side of Cheonji Lake, serving
as the source of the Amnok-gang [Yalu River] which
runs west as Korea's natural border with Manchuria
|a North Korean photo said to be of deer bucks in a gyegok [scenic gorge] of Baekdu-san