North Korea Has Some Of The World's Most Spectacular Architecture

Pyongyang

Photo: Courtesy of DOM Publishers

German architect Philip Meuser offers a rare glimpse into one of the most secretive states in the world in his book Architectural and Cultural Guide Pyongyang. “Part of my motivation for this book was to do a guide book to a place that you can’t even visit,” Meuser said in an interview with Aaron Britt of Dwell. “I want to show that North Korea is real and that Pyongyang is real, but for an American they’re also totally virtual. It’s like Google Street View. You see things all over the world, but you never really leave your computer.” 

Meuser also points out that because Pyongyang was almost completely destroyed after the Korean War, most of the buildings were built in the last 60 years and are “interpretations of historical Korean architecture.”

A view of government buildings on Kim Il Sung Square, a common gathering place for military parades and rallies.

The Grand Monument on Mansu Hill centres around a giant bronze statue of Kim Il Sung.

The Grand People's Study House, situated along Taedong River, is Pyongyang's main library.

A view from the Grand People's Study House across Kim Il-sung Square (the Juche tower is across the water).

The Party Foundation Monument consists of a hammer, a sickle and a writing brush to represent workers, farmers and intellectuals, respectively.

The Arch of Reunification shows two women holding a map of an undivided North Korea.

The Arch of Triumph, a 200-foot-tall monument built to commemorate Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday, is where the former leader made his first public speech after returning to Korea in 1945.

The Yongwang subway station is one of two stations open to foreigners.

The Pyongyang ice rink, built in 1981, seats 6000.

The nearly 500-foot-tall Pyongyang Koryo Hotel is the second-highest hotel building in North Korea.

The abandoned construction site of the Rygyong Hotel. Construction on the 105-story building resumed in 2008.

A residential block of Pyongyang. Noticed the wide, deserted streets.

The waiting room of the women's hair salon in the Changgwangsan Health and Recreation Centre.

The Auditorium of the Pyongyang Grand Theatre can seat more than 2,000 people.

More than 5,000 students attend Mangyongdae Schoolchildren's Palace, a six-story building built in 1989.

The Mansudae Assembly Hall is mainly used by the Supreme People's Assembly but it also hosts diplomatic events and press conferences. The inside is decorated with large murals and opulent chandeliers.

Acrobatic performances take place inside the Pyongyang Circus, which seats 3,500 spectators.

The 150-foot-tall Chollima statue on Mansu Hill depicts a worker and peasant woman riding a winged horse. The horse stands for the reconstruction of North Korean society.

A view of cylindrical residential towers and wave-shaped housing slabs.

Residential buildings in Pyongyang.

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