Sunday, April 24, 2005

North Korean Construction Projects That Seemed Like Perfectly Good Ideas at the Time

Ryugyong Hotel
In 1987, in an effort to show up their neighbors to the south, North Korea set out to build the world's tallest hotel, The Ryugyong Hotel. At the time of its building, this extravagant 105-story project cost more than 2% of North Korea's GDP.

Source: Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License)

Construction on the Ryugyong halted in 1992. Although the hulking main structure is complete (albeit uninhabitable due to deficient, dangerous concrete), it is merely a shell, lacking any windows or inner fixtures.

Here's the lovely Pyongyang skyline with the Ryugyong Hotel lurking in the distance.

Gijeong-dong Flagpole
In 1981, South Korean hamlet of Daeseong-Dong erected a 100-meter flagpole within clear view of the DMZ. Ready to show their southern counterparts a thing or two, the North Koreans decided to build the world's tallest flagpole in Gijeong-dong, proving to the whole world that they were willing to push any Flag-arms race well beyond the dictates of reason. The flag atop this 160-meter pole is reported to weigh more than 600 lbs.


The village of Gijeong-dong itself
You might think it's silly to build a 500-foot flagpole at the entrance of frontier village, but what about at the entrance of a fictional village with no actual inhabitants? That's right. Gijeong-dong (also known as Propaganda Village) was constructed by North Korea within view of its border with South Korea. It consists only of the shells of buildings and has no actual residents. Loudspeakers within Gijeong-dong blare propaganda southward, in hopes that some gullible South Koreans might dare make their way north.

1 comment:

Andy said...

It's been brought to my attention that the 150,000 seat Rungnado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang really deserves inclusion. I couldn't agree more.