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Station Recipe
Ryongchon
Almost every train station in North Korea follows the same recipe, with banners of political propaganda and a portrait of the "Great Leader" Kim Il-Sung in the middle.
North Korea: Ryongchon Station near Sinuiju



Fashion
Mass Fashion
The latest haute couture (i.e. fashion) to come out of North Korea is in colorful army brown and black. Notice that all North Koreans have to wear a pin showing either father or son Kim.
North Korea: People watching at a train station

Rebuilding
Ryongchon
What North Korea lacks in technology it compensates for in workforce, such as seen here in the rebuilding of Ryongchon.
North Korea: Rebuilding Ryongchon after 2004 train explosion

Travel
Korea Friendship Association
Promotes the North Korean regime
North Korean Business & Sightseeing Information
From the National Tourism Administration
Travel in North Korea
Great collection of North Korea links

Asia | N. E. Asia | North Korea | North--> Pyongyang : South -->

North: China Contrast

Nothing shows the failure of the North Korean leadership more than crossing the border from China into North Korea. It is like being time-warped 50 years back in time, technologically and economically speaking. Even though both countries are supposedly communist, capitalist China is trading up with near double-digit growth rates, while North Korea remains ideologically more like Russia during Stalin. Once inside one can immediatly sense the extent of control, isolation, and the total lack of any individual freedom or expression that pervades the country. Acknowledged human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all categorize North Korea as having one of the worst human rights records in the world. Unfortunately situation of the poor North Koreans receives little attention in the world media, left in the shadows behind the government's nuclear weapons program.

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North Korea: 1984 in 2004

If the gaze of Kim Il-Sung or Kim Jong-Il doesn't follow you, then banners and murals with revolutionary slogans will. North Korea is void of commercials (except for some in the capital for a locally produced car). Propaganda, on the other hand, is omni-present. The whole country is an Orwellian prophesy come true. Radios and televisions can only be tuned to government broadcasts, and in the factories and in the fields the government has placed loudspeakers broadcasting even more propaganda. Most comes in the form of tributes to the unfallable "Great Leader" Kim Il-Sung and his son.
North Korea: Revolutionary propaganda in Sinuiju

North Korea: Train Signaling North Korea: Myohyang, Pohyon Temple North Korea: Train Station Aspects of Life

Scenes from North Korea (from left to right):
-Train signaling is still done manually, with numerous employees waving their green flags as you pass by.
-The 1000 year old Buddhist Pohyon Temple in the Myohyang Mountains is used to show that there is indeed religious freedom in the country.
-The army is omni-present, and with over one million armed personell the world's fifth largest.

Trains: Steam Power

If you're a train enthuasiast you are in for a special treat in North Korea. Many of the old steam locomotives are still running, and to earn some hard currency the authorities have even set up special tours just for railway enthusiasts, taking them for rides through beautiful countryside with the old steam trains. If you're not going on a steam train tour the train ride from Pyongyang to Sinuiju is also a nice experience, as you get to see parts of the countryside not really meant for foreigners.
North Korea: Steam train in operation in Sinuiju

North Korea: Destruction after 2004 explostion in Ryongchon Ryongchon: Train Disaster

Ryongchon is a small town just 20 kilometres from the Chinese border. On April 22, 2004 it was rocketed into world news when rail cars carrying flammable materials exploded after a collision with electric power cables. The destruction was devastating, with the number of casualties ranging from 50 to 3000. Just hours before the explosion the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il passed through Ryongchon in his custom made train. Getting trains on schedule after the disruption caused by his passing may be one of the factors leading to the accident.

Sinuiju/Dandong: Broken Bridge

As you cross the Yalu River, leaving North Korea for China, you can see the Yalu River Broken Bridge on your left. It goes halfways into the river from the Chinese side, and ends abruptly where North Korea begins. It's a reminder of US bombings during the Korean War. If it's a sunny day you'll see crowds of people on the viewing platform in the middle of the river trying to get a glimpse of North Korea. It's close, but still so far away.
North Korea: Yalu River Broken Bridge



Farmland
North Korea
Seen from afar the farm houses of the North Korean countryside look so idyllic, nicely painted and orderly placed.
North Korea: Farm Houses

Facts
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk

Capital
Pyongyang
Largest city
Pyongyang
Population
23,113,000 (2006)
Area
120,540 km²
Official language(s)
Korean
Government
Communist single-party state dictatorship

History
North Korea
676: Silla Kingdom first unified state to cover most of Korean peninsula.
935: Silla Kingdom gives way to Goryeo Dynasty.
1392-1910: Korean peninsula ruled by Joseon Dynasty.
1910-45: Annexed by Japan.
1945: Korean peninsula divided, with establishment of seperate governments in communist North and democratic South.
1948-94: Led by dictator Kim Il-Sung.
1950-53: Korean War, initiated by an attack from the North.
1997: Kim Jong-il confirmed as head of state.

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