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Pyongyang
Silent Night
The North Korean capital is as surreal by night as it is by day. Because of the fuel crisis there's hardly a sound to be heard from traffic after dark, and nightlife is more or less non-existant.
North Korea: Pyongyang by night



Station
Pyongyang
Trains from Beijing and Moscow arrive at Pyongyang Station in the west of the city. The building itself is typical of the Stalinist neo-classical architecture, except for the shining smiling Kim Il-Sung.
North Korea: Pyongyang Station

Party Honors
Pyongyang
The closest thing to a ruling Stalinist party in the world today is the Korean Worker's Party (KWP), which has been in power since 1946. It has only had two leaders during that period, Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il.
North Korea: Worker's Party Monument in Pyongyang

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

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Pyongyang: Showcase Capital

The North Korean capital Pyongyang is the regime's showcase to the world. Only people favored by the regime are allowed to live there. The propaganda machinery portrays it as paradise on earth, a spotless city where the population enjoys the fruits of the Korean revolution. The truth is somewhat different. North Korea is a bankrupt country, just barely surviving. Even the privileged in the capital don't have enough food to eat, or electricity to heat their apartments during the ice cold winters. The grand revolutionary monuments of the capital stand as an ironic reminder of the leadership's true priorities.
North Korea: View of Pyongyang from Yanggakdo International Hotel

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North Korea: Kim Il-Sung in bronze on Mansudae (Mansu Hill) Mansudae: Modesty Monument

Every foreigner that visits North Korea must pay a respectful visit to Mansudae (Mansu Hill) in Pyongyang, where you will be expected to bow for the 20 meter tall bronze statue of the "Great Leader" Kim Il-Sung. The official version is that the statue is a monument to the former leader's modesty; the people originally wanted to build a statue twice as tall, but the leader insisted that that amount of money could be better spent on other things. On special holidays tens of thousands of North Koreans flock to the monument to pay their respects.

Pyongyang: Metro

The entrances of the Pyongyang Metro are protected by huge metal doors. Past these doors escalators take you 100 meters down to the trains, effectively making the metro a huge bomb-shelter (as well as being the world's deepest metro). Through winding tunnels you reach the squeegee clean stations, which are exuberantly decorated, with revolutionary frescos, marble, mosaics and grand chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Though, the whole experience is made North Korean by the lack of lighting, due to the electricity shortage.
North Korea: Puhung Station on the Pyongyang Metro

North Korea: 170 meter tall Juche Tower in Pyongyang North Korea: 105-story unfinished Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang North Korea: Kids cleaning the streets of Pyongyang Various Sights

Sights of Pyongyang (from left to right):
-170 meter tall Juche Tower, built from 25550 stones for Kim Il-Sungs 70th birthday.
-The still unfinished Ryugyong Hotel, at 105 stories. It would have been the world's largest hotel.
-Kids also have to do their part of the work in North Korea, such as these girls sweeping the streets.

Pyongyang: Worship Center

Mangyongdae (meaning Mangyong Hill) is the birthplace of Kim Il-Sing, and so it is also one of the major sites of pilgrimage in North Korea. Everyday thousands of people congregate in Mangyongdae to study the modest conditions Kim Il-Sung grew up in. Even though the huts are supposedly 100 years old, they look more like they were built just a few years ago. The pictures on the walls inside the huts show ancestors of Kim Il-Sung, all of whom have been made into revolutionary heroes by the official propaganda machinery.
North Korea: Mangyongdae (Mangyong Hill) in Pyongyang, birthplace of Kim Il-Sung

North Korea: Traffic: For the Few

There are no traffic lights in Pyongyang. The intersections are instead guarded by traffic officers - who usually come in the shape of a woman with robotic movements. Private cars are almost unheard of in North Korea. For a large part of the population the only option is walking, and thousands of people can be seen walking back and forth to their offices everyday, spending an hour or two in each direction. Kim Il-Sung banned bikes to restrict the movement of the population, but they are reappearing on the streets of North Korea.



Children's Palace
Pyongyang
The Children's Palace is a grotesque part of the regime's propaganda machinery. The thousands of children who go there everyday are drilled as machines, leaving no room for fun and play.
North Korea: Performance at the Children's Palace in Pyongyang

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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