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North Korea: A Postorwellian Country II

Published: 25.1.2013
As it was promised at the end of the last article, today the text will be about some of Pyongyang’s monuments.

PchjongjangNorth Korea has around thousand tourists from the West every year. These tourists, who need two visas, are accompanied by the Korean International Travel Company and they are not allowed to go anywhere outside designated path.

Pyongyang became the country’s capital almost two decades after the end of the Korean War. It was due to the fact that the North Korean constitution considered Seoul as a rightful capital. Pyongyang had undergone massive reconstruction that created its present form. Typical feature of the city is its monumentality – wide avenues and massive buildings.

Among the largest buildings is well-known Ryugyong Hotel that splendidly Mauzoleum personifies absurdity of the North Korean regime. The construction of a 330 meters high building of the shape of some kind of modern pyramid began in 1987 and it was supposed to be opened already in 1989. However, the building hasn’t been completed until this very day. Estimated year of completion is 2013 but it is likely the date will be moved because the Rjugjong , 2004 projects is too expensive. Nevertheless, the hotel will be partially opened this year. A luxurious German hotelier company will perform the administration. The hotel has 105 floors and besides guest rooms is will also contain restaurants and offices.

Another memorial of the regime is the Kim Il-Sung’s Mausoleum known also as the Palace of the Sun. The palace was built in 1976 and it used to be the official residence of the Kim’s family. After the death of the Great Leader Kim Il-Sung in 1996 the Palace was rebuilt to a mausoleum. Even the calendar changed, Koreans, or rather their government, abandoned traditional Christian calendar and replaced it with years defined Rjungjong,2012by the birth and the death of their “beloved” leader. Kim Il-Sung became the eternal president that watches over his country as a spirit from his all-glassed sarcophagus in his air-conditioned mausoleum. Does it mean then that even the roughest communist regime believes in the afterlife? Anyway, his recently deceased son Kim Jong-il will soon join him in his eternal presidential duty. The burial ceremony of Kim Jong-il was performed in the spirit of “great” workers party. The cortege was 40 kilometers long and lasted three hours. It started and ended at the Palace. There is also a huge square in front of the building that is about 500 meters wide.

At first sight Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph lets know that its architects were inspired by the one in Paris. No wonder then that the purpose of the building built in 1982 is to glorify Kim Il-Sung, i.e. his alleged role in the North Korean army during the Korea War. Proportions of the building are Vítězný obloukare symbolic as well. 25 500 high-quality granite bricks represent every day of Kim Il-Sung’s life up to his 70th birthday, the year when the Arch was built. The Arch in North Korea is even slightly larger than its French counterpart. Its 60 meters high makes him the largest arc of triumph in the world. The wide is 50 meters. The arch is decorated with the hymn “Song of General Kim Il-Sung” and with the year 1925, the year when the Great Leader allegedly began his quest to free his country…

In the next article there will be more about landmarks in Pyongyang.

 

Text: Maxim Kucer

Photo: Wikipedia.org - NASA, Mark Scott Johnson , Joseph Ferris III, Timur, Gilad.rom




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