CONTENTS pg. 5 Introduction to the Magazine pg. 7 About Architecture in NK pg. 11 Political Spaces and Monuments pg. 19 Major Cultural Establishments pg. 35 Education and Culture pg. 45 Sports and Health pg. 55 Museums and Transport pg. 65 Korean Architecture Before 1945 pg. 73 About the Architecture Tour pg. 75 Itinerary and Highlights pg. 77 About Koryo Tours
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ABOUT ARCHITECTURE IN NORTH KOREA
ABOUT ARCHITECTURE IN THE DPRK (NORTH KOREA) Pyongyang’s broad streets, its larger-than-life socialist-realist monuments glorifying the leaders, Korean soldiers, peasants, intellectuals and workers, its monumental socialist housing projects, and its plentiful, mass cultural and sporting facilities were intended to make it a true monument to the achievements of socialism. Pyongyang was designed to be a capital where every North Korean would feel like a truly modern socialist – the architecture intended to speak the language of socialism and progress to all its citizens. It was designed to provide a utopian backdrop for their daily routines. Whether they were commuting to work on the Metro system, travelling on the trolleybus and tram systems down the broad highways, taking part in work in shops, factories or museums, indulging in evening cultural activity such as watching a film in one of Pyongyang’s grand socialist cinemas, or engaging in sporting activity or gymnastics practice in one of its colossal stadia, the architecture was planned to provide the means for them to carry out their tasks in grandiose, inspiring surroundings.
Pyongyang was left flattened at the end of the Korean War. The architects in charge of its reconstruction were charged with the task of creating a city which symbolised a new, revolutionary era in Korean history and culture. The initial speed at which the buildings were built (known as Chollima Speed), together with their ultra-modern style, gave a sense of dynamism and instantaneous progress towards the attainment of a socialist future. Its monuments and seemingly identical buildings are not meant merely as staid, static embodiments of Korean socialism, but were intended to allow Koreans living in Pyongyang to sense the power of socialism, and the achievements of their revolutionary forebears. Stories of revolutionary feats would be immortalised in the monumental socialist-realist statues around the city. Pyongyang’s city plan and architecture provides an insight into the intention to create the definitive socialist city, combining green space with all necessary urban facilities. It is surely one of the best examples of the progression of socialist architecture over the past 60 years.
Pyongyang was laid out as a modern, progressive vision, to tie in with the organisation of the North Korean socialist system. Its socialist-realist monuments and buildings were designed to emphasise the revolutionary achievements since independence from the Japanese occupation (1910 - 1945) and the Korean War (1950 - 1953). Every building was commissioned with a social purpose, every building is state-owned and run, and every building was to be used by Koreans to better themselves physically or mentally, and to become at one with their labour and with their socialist leisure. www.koryogroup.com
>> POLITICAL SPACES AND MONUMENTS
Kim Il Sung Square - the centre of post-war Pyongyang, constructed in the mid-1950s. Laid out in the style of many post-war Soviet squares, this area is the political focal point of the DPRK, playing host to all of the countryâ€™s most important military parades and mass rallies.
Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, built in 1977. This building originally functioned as Kim Il Sungâ€™s seat of government, and is now his mausoleum, as well as that of his son, Kim Jong Il. Set in huge, extremely well-kept grounds and built in an austere, impressive neoclassical style, it is lavishly constructed with gold fittings and marble-clad rooms displaying medals, photographs and various train carriages, as well as boats and cars which the leaders used during their lifetime.
The iconic Tower of the Juche Idea, unveiled in 1982 as the ultimate architectural celebration of Juche ideology, and erected to mark Kim Il Sungâ€™s 70th birthday.
Party Foundation Monument, completed in 1995 as a definitive sign of the Party’s power and prestige, symbolised by the worker’s giant hammer, the peasant’s sickle and intellectual’s calligraphy brush. It was erected to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean Workers’ Party.
>> MAJOR CULTURAL ESTABLISHMENTS
A growing number of grand political and cultural centres were built and opened around central Pyongyang in the 1970s and 80s. The earlier of these consisted mainly of a combination of a simplified, streamlined version of late Stalinist neo-classicism with some minor nods to Korean culture in small elements of their design, and features of 1960s and 70s Soviet modernism. They thus preserve the immense grandiosity and austerity, as well as the colonnaded facades, broad entrance areas, and enormous foyers of typical socialist public buildings of the post-war era.
The two best examples of these types of buildings are the April 25 House of Culture (1975) and the Mansudae Art Theatre (1976). The latter contains a huge revolving stage, together with enormous chandeliered rooms and revolutionary frescoes on its huge walls, and is set alongside huge, landscaped grounds complete with fountains, grand paths and stairways.
Later examples of Pyongyang cultural centres show the progression during the 1980s to a more post-modernist, almost international style of construction and decoration. These buildings use more glass and plainer facades, and lose the neoclassical elements of previous buildings, achieving a lighter, more dynamic look, rather like some Soviet public buildings of the late 1970s and 80s.
Mansudae Art Theatre
Fountain park in front of Mansudae Art Theatre (1976) This park is very much the yawning plaza of the socialist monumental city, a place where locals can stroll and have their wedding photo taken, and designed to provide an uplifting foreground to the theatre itself, turning the whole area into a planned artistic and social space.
Plans for the construction of the Koryo Hotel and the hotel today (insert).
Pyongyang hotels often feature on graphics depicting the city.
The 105-storey pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel. Construction of this hotel began in the late 1980s, and was stalled until 2008, when work recommenced. The faรงade has recently been completed, and the interior is still being worked on.
The Yanggakdo Hotel, which was opened in 1995. This building features striking internationalist design. At 47 storeys, it is the second tallest building in the DPRK, built in a light, airy style with copious use of glass and light materials, and offering a spectacular view of the city from its revolving restaurant on the top floor.
The original interior of the Taedonggang Diplomatic Club bar, designed in the 1980s.
>> EDUCATION AND CULTURE
In order to be a good Korean socialist, it was important not only to live in a monumental, grandiose city and to attend similarly grandiose cultural performances, but also to be educated in the socialist way of living, as well as to become literate and numerate. Many notable buildings designed in Pyongyang since independence aimed to tackle the widespread illiteracy and political ignorance which the Japanese left in their wake. Following independence, Korean socialist leaders set about putting in place institutions which would rapidly build up Pyongyang citizensâ€™ level of literary, as well as their cultural and political aptitude. The first post-independence task was to create a new, educated class of socialist leaders and technocrats, and to that end construction of Kim Il Sung University began immediately after independence under Soviet guidance, the main building being constructed between 1946 and 1948 in grand neoclassical Stalinist style.
The campus and buildings of the university provide an excellent example of the progression of Pyongyangâ€™s architecture, running the full gauntlet from post-war neoclassicism through to 1980s high rise brutalism, and finally to a light, modern two storey glass-ceilinged swimming pool completed in 2009.
1980s The Mangyongdae Schoolchildrenâ€™s Palace (previous page and right), opened in 1989 and featuring one of the most striking post-modern designs in the city. Situated on the edge of the Kwangbok residential district constructed for the Youth Festival of 1989, this building dominates the area and consists of a huge semi-circular front, representing the enveloping arms of a loving, nurturing mother. It features copious use of glass and modernist curves, flanked by full-length murals depicting triumphant Korean socialist youth gazing ecstatically into the future. This building has a large outer courtyard, complete with fountains and sculptures, as well as impressive interior spaces and an imposing entrance hall with marble columns, circular terraces and long, modernist ceiling lights. The similarity to late Soviet architecture will not be missed by those who have travelled in the former Soviet Union.
The Korean Workers’ Party’s continued attempts to inculcate socialist values into its young population in the 1980s began with the Grand People’s Study House (1982). This building represents a bold attempt to bring learning, reading and socialist consciousness to the heart of the Korean capital in the form of an enormous building combining late socialist grandiosity with traditional Korean style, the latter very much in evidence in its landmark green roof. This huge 10-storey building features a grand central atrium, as well as numerous lecture halls and unique architectural features. Its huge balcony provides a commanding view of Kim Il Sung Square and its impressive symmetrical design. From here one can see the heavy neo-classicism of the government buildings which surround the square, and also get a sense of the axis across the Taedong river stretching to the iconic Juche Tower on the opposite bank.
SPORTS AND HEALTH
Another important aspect of becoming socialist was an emphasis on physical wellbeing and discipline, in order to ensure health in mind and body and to become â€˜at oneâ€™ with manual work and the demands of socialist production.
One of Pyongyangâ€™s most distinctive buildings is its unique Ice Rink, completed in 1981. This building consists of a conical modernist structure reputedly designed to resemble a skaterâ€™s cap.
The swimming pool at the Changwang Health Complex, one of Pyongyangâ€™s premiere centres for sports and health. It was constructed between 1981 and 1986.
One of the cityâ€™s largest structures is the magnificent May Day Stadium. This was completed in 1989 and consists of 16 arched roofs. The design was based on a flower blooming or a parachute which has just landed. This is where the spectacular Mass Games performances are held each year between July and October. The stadium seats an incredible 150,000 spectators, and its stage can easily accommodate 100,000 performers. www.koryogro
>> MUSEUMS AND TRANSPORT
Museums were primary tools for the transmission of the revolutionary message to the Korean people, as well as to foreign visitors. Pyongyangâ€™s museums were designed as centres where Koreans would learn not only about their own history and society but, crucially, how to think about it. The buildings themselves, always imposing and often brutalist in their style, as well as massive in their scale, emphasise the importance of the information being imparted, and their layout and display arrangements are meant to lead to certain specific understandings and conceptualisations of events and history.
Pyongyangâ€™s premier historical museum, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, was opened in 1974 and preserves its austere, grandiose exterior and huge exposition halls. These feature a mixture of original wood panelling and marble, as well as one of the DPRKâ€™s most remarkable dioramas depicting a dramatic battle scene from the Korean War. The museum is replete with socialist-realist paintings and designs depicting the story of this pivotal war. The building has recently undergone reconstruction and reopened in July 2013.
These images show Pyongyang’s underground ‘museums’, where interior layout and displays of revolutionary history in the socialist-realist style combine with daily practicality and socialist efficiency in the form of the mass transportation system, the Pyongyang Metro. Its construction began in 1973. The stations showcase grandiose design and interactive wall displays, reminiscent of the opulent interiors of stations on the Moscow Metro built during the late-Stalin period. www.koryogroup.com
Korean architecture before 1945
The beautiful Tomb of King Kongmin, the twin-domed tomb of the 31st King of the Koryo Dynasty (918 - 1392 AD) and his wife which remained largely undamaged during the Korean War. The tomb is situated near Kaesong city, which lies 7km from the DMZ.
The old city of Kaesong
Minsok Folk Hotel, housed in a traditional Korean set of houses arranged around courtyards, and dating from the Li dynasty (1392 - 1910).
5th - 12th October 2013 COST: 1980 euros, plane in, plane out This tour will take us to the highlights of the DPRK’s architecture, allowing us to delve into the design of the unique modern city of Pyongyang and the beautiful traditional buildings of Kaesong. We will have access to many buildings not usually open to tourist groups, and will listen to lectures from Korean architects and interior designers at many of the locations we visit, learning a tremendous amount about both the functions and the history of Pyongyang’s remarkable buildings. This will be both an architectural and a historical journey through North Korea’s urban development like no other. Highlights: • Kim Il Sung Square and its neo-classical surround, built 1954-5 • Mansudae Grand Monuments to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, built 1972, 2012 • Visit to the new residential district around Mansudae Street • April 25 House of Culture, built in 1975 and one of the best examples of 1970s socialist monumentality in the city • Moranbong Theatre, Pyongyang’s first socialist theatre, featuring classic post-war neoclassical design, built 1946 • Exterior and interior tour of Pyongyang Grand Theatre, one of Pyongyang’s landmark buildings, built in 1960 in a mixture of modernist and traditional styles • Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, built in a grandiose neoclassical style in 1946 for orphans of heroes who had perished in the anti-Japanese struggle • Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, built 1977. The former seat of government of Kim Il Sung and now the mausoleum where he and his son lie on display. One of the DPRK’s most impressive neoclassical buildings • Grand People’s Assembly Hall, built in late-socialist neoclassical style in 1984 • Pyongyang Architecture Institute, featuring fascinating paintings, plans and photographs which tell the story of Pyongyang’s post-war reconstruction • Chongnyon Hotel, a striking 1980s Pyongyang hotel built for the World Festival of Communist Youth and Students, held in Pyongyang in 1989 • A full tour of the campus and buildings of Kim Il Sung University, the DPRK’s highest seat of learning, with buildings opened between 1945 and 2009 • The iconic Ryugyong Hotel. A chance for a close-up view of the newly-completed 104-storey pyramid-shaped hotel, incomplete for many years • Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace, opened in 1989 and featuring one of the most striking post-modern designs in the city • Pyongyang’s distinctive Ice Rink, completed in 1981 and consisting of a conical modernist structure • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, opened in 1974 and recently renovated, but still preserving its austere, grandiose exterior and huge exposition halls • Pyongyang International House of Cinema, built in 1989 in a striking circular style and housing three theatres • A selection of Pyongyang’s most decorative metro stations and the brutalist Pyongyang Metro Museum, which opened in 1984
about architecture tour www.koryogroup.com
Architecture Tour itinerary Saturday October 5th: Arrival and Orientation After arriving at the airport, we move to Pyongyang’s most impressive public space, as we begin to trace the early redevelopments of central Pyongyang following the destruction of the Korean War. We will walk around the grand central space of Kim Il Sung Square (1954-5), and examine the features of the central government buildings around it. We will then go on walk along both Sungri Street (formerly Stalin Street), and Chollima Street (1953), the two earliest main post-Korean War streets in Pyongyang, ending up on the top of Mansu Hill at the Chollima Monument (unveiled in 1961). Following these visits, it will be off to the iconic twintowered Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang’s first real international hotel, built in the late socialist style in 1985. We will check in here for the night, and have dinner in its restaurant. Sunday October 6th: Political Spaces and Monuments We will begin our first full day with a look at many of the grand construction projects of the 1970s and 80s, when much of the Pyongyang’s current monumental centre took shape. We will first spend some time at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun built in 1977 as Kim Il Sung’s seat of government and now his mausoleum, as well as that of his son. This is one of Pyongyang’s grandest buildings, one which exemplifies the growing importance of the political leadership, and its representation, in Pyongyang architecture during the 1970s. We will go on to view the Grand Monuments to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill, originally built to mark the 60th birthday of Kim Il Sung in 1972, and recently expanded to include a statue of Kim Jong Il in 2012. We will then move on to visit the Tower of the Juche Idea, unveiled in 1982 as the ultimate architectural celebration of Juche ideology, and erected to mark Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday. After a stop at the celebratory Arch of Triumph (1982), we will visit one of Pyongyang’s most important political buildings, the Grand People’s Assembly Hall, built in late-socialist neoclassical style in 1984. We will take a full tour of this building, seeing not only its imposing exterior facades but also its lavish, elegant interior spaces, perfectly designed to communicate the importance of the discussions held within its spacious halls and corridors. The purpose-built, gargantuan Kwangbok and Thongil Residential Areas will be next on our tour; these were constructed in 1989 and 1993 respectively. After lunch in a local restaurant, we will move to Pyongyang’s more contemporary revolutionary spaces, such as the striking Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Monument, with its superb
socialist-realist sculptures of Korean soldiers charging into battle, as well as the equally impressive Party Foundation Monument, completed in 1995 as the ultimate sign of the Korean Workers’ Party’s power and prestige. We will also visit the Arch of Reunification (2001), and the shining new tower blocks and multi-storey houses of the comfortable Mansudae Street (2009). We may be able to arrange to view the interiors of these new flats, a visit which would provide a fascinating insight into daily family life in the very heart of Pyongyang.
building with cylindrically-shaped low-rise sections at the front and rear. The hotel also contains classic 1980s interiors, and we will have a drink in its rooftop restaurant. We will then have dinner in one of Pyongyang’s landmark eateries, the Okryu Restaurant, opened in 1961 as Pyongyang’s first ‘prestige’ mass eatery, tickets to dine at which were available by application to any resident of Pyongyang. After a sumptuous, traditional Korean dinner in one of its huge mass eating halls, all of which have beautiful views of the river, we return to our 1980s hotel.
Monday October 7th: Major Cultural Establishments We will start our tour today at the end of the Second World War and the DPRK’s liberation from Japan, viewing the ornate neoclassical exterior and beautifully proportioned interior of the Moranbong Theatre (opened 1946), situated on a hill in lush parkland at the entrance to Moran Park. We then move on to the period of ‘socialist design with Korean characteristics’, visiting the Pyongyang Grand Theatre (opened 1960), a huge statement of socialist cultural superiority situated in the very centre of Pyongyang. We continue our journey examining the Korean people’s introduction to high socialist culture with a visit to the vast People’s Palace of Culture (1974). After lunch in a Pyongyang restaurant, we will look at the growing number of grand political and cultural centres built and opened around Pyongyang in the 1970s and 80s. The two best examples of these are the April 25 House of Culture (1975) and the Mansudae Art Theatre (completed 1976), both of which we will visit, taking not only walks around the exterior facades, but also detailed tours of the buildings’ interiors. Staying with grandiose political architectural statements, we will then see the Central Youth Hall (completed 1989), one of Pyongyang’s main centres for youth activity and education, and hopefully see the 100-seat modernist theatre where amateur productions are performed. We will visit and hopefully see a performance at either the People’s Army Circus, opened in 1964 and constructed in a distinctive circular shape with a domed roof, or the ultra-postmodernist Pyongyang Circus, built in 1989 and unveiled for May Day of that year, and consisting of five halls each with a striking hexagonal roof. These buildings host the country’s finest acrobats, and, along with the equally modernist, glass-covered East Pyongyang Grand Theatre (1989), which we will also see, present two of the most dynamic designs in the city. We will go first to the Chongnyon Hotel, built in 1989 for the World Festival of Youth and Students, and a real Pyongyang institution. It is notable for its striking design, combining a brutalist high-rise
Tuesday October 8th: Education and Culture Today we will look at some of the key buildings designed in Pyongyang since independence which aimed to tackle the widespread illiteracy and political ignorance which the Japanese left in their wake. We will first visit Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, built in a stately neoclassical style in 1946 for orphans of heroes who had perished in the anti-Japanese struggle, and featuring a bronze monument depicting Kim Il Sung caring for Korean orphans atop its wide staircase. We will then move on to Pyongyang’s highest seat of learning, Kim Il Sung University. The campus and buildings of the university provide an excellent example of the progression of Pyongyang’s architecture, running the full gauntlet from post-war Stalinist neoclassicism through to 1980s high rise brutalism, and finally to a light, two-storey glass-ceilinged swimming pool completed in 2009. This will be followed by a visit to the elegant neoclassical Taedongmun Cinema in central Pyongyang. This striking building was completed in 1955, and was one of the first socialist cinemas in Korea, its lavish colonnaded entrance area and ornate sculpture work revealing the influence of Soviet post-war design upon 1950s Pyongyang construction projects. Constructed in a mixture of styles which combine simpler socialist neo-classicism with a striking 1960s modernism, the enormous Pyongyang Schoolchildren’s Palace boasts a grand driveway leading up to its entrance and a welcoming statue of Kim Il Sung with keen young Korean children, as well as full length murals depicting Korean youth in the 1960s socialist style. After breaking for lunch, we will go on to view the Korean Workers’ Party’s continued attempts to inculcate socialist values into its young population in the 1980s with a visit to the Grand People’s Study House (1982). We will take a full tour of this huge 10-storey building, seeing its grand central atrium, as well as many of its lecture halls and unique architectural features. We will also have a chance to see the roof (which consists of 34 separate pieces) from the huge balcony.
From this vantage point we will be able to get a sense of the wonderfully symmetrical design of Kim Il Sung Square, and to take in the heavy neoclassicism of the government buildings which surround it, as well as the axis across the Taedong river stretching to the iconic Juche Tower on the opposite bank. Following our visit to this great place of learning, we will have a chance to compare the Pyongyang Schoolchildren’s Palace, with its 1960s design, with its counterpart further out of town in the form of the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace, opened in 1989 and featuring another striking post-modern piece of design. This building dominates the area and consists of a huge semi-circular front, representing the enveloping arms of a loving, nurturing mother. We will take a detailed tour of this building’s exterior, complete with fountains and landscaped garden, and of its impressive interior spaces and imposing entrance hall with marble columns, circular terraces and long, modernist ceiling lights. Following visits to the fascinating Mansudae Art Studio and the Pyongyang Architecture Institute, where we can learn much about the construction of DPRK art and sculpture, as well as of Pyongyang itself, we will round off the day with a visit to the Pyongyang International House of Cinema on Yanggak island, also built in 1989 in a striking circular style and housing three film theatres. This complex plays host to the Pyongyang International Film Festival. Following drinks in the revolving restaurant of the nearby Yanggakdo Hotel (1995), which offers magnificent views of Pyongyang’s skyline and the river Taedong, we will have dinner in a local restaurant and return to the Koryo Hotel for the night. Wednesday October 9th: Sports and Health We begin our tour with a visit to the Indoor Stadium, completed in 1973 in a striking mixture of neo-classical and modernist styles, with colonnaded front façade and huge slanting roof. We will then drop in at Pyongyang’s flagship health facility, the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital, opened in 1980 and featuring a striking late socialist brutalist design and grand entranceway. From here we go on to visit one of Pyongyang’s most distinctive buildings in the form of its unique Ice Rink, completed in 1981 and consisting of a conical modernist structure designed to resemble a skater’s cap. Following lunch, we will move on to one of Pyongyang’s most important sports facilities, the Kim Il Sung Stadium, opened in 1969 as the Moranbong Stadium and substantially renovated and renamed in 1982, and which plays host to many of Pyongyang’s most important sporting events. Staying with stadia, we will then drop in at one of the city’s largest
structures, the magnificent May Day Stadium. This was completed in 1989 and consists of 16 arched glass roofs, allowing the building to resemble a flower blooming or a parachute which has just landed. This is where the spectacular Mass Games performances are held each year between July and October. The stadium seats an incredible 150,000 spectators, and its stage can easily accommodate 100,000 performers. Our next stop of the day is the impressive sports complex (the ‘city of sports’) on Chongchun Street. This consists of numerous gymnasia, a football stadium, and separate halls for numerous sports such as volleyball, badminton, weightlifting and taekwondo. As well as visiting these sporting facilities, we will drop in at the Changwang Health and Recreation Complex (built 1981-86). Here we will have a chance to get a haircut in the hair salon, which preserves its complete original furniture and equipment from 1981. Following this, we will have dinner at Pyongyang’s other long established mass access restaurant, the Chongnyu, built in 1981 in a modernist maritime style. We will dine on speciality cuisine in this restaurant, which contains sumptuous interior design over its four storeys and benefits from a beautiful riverside location. Thursday October 10th: Museums and Transport We look at the transmission of the revolutionary message to the Korean people, as well as to foreign visitors, in the form of museums and galleries. First on our tour is one of Pyongyang’s oldest galleries, the Pyongyang Art Gallery, opened in 1960 and housed in a neo-classical building in a prestigious location on Kim Il Sung Square. Next is a visit to Pyongyang’s premier historical museum, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, opened in 1974 and preserving its austere, grandiose exterior and huge exposition halls. We will then go on to visit Pyongyang’s underground ‘museums’, where interior layout and displays of revolutionary history in the socialist-realist style combine with daily practicality and socialist efficiency in the form of the mass transportation system, the Pyongyang Metro. We will have the chance to explore the monumental interiors of 3 stations on the system. Following lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue our exploration of the merging of transport and museum imagery with an extended visit to the brutalist Pyongyang Metro Museum, opened in 1984. Our final stop of the day will be one of Pyongyang’s largest and newest museum complexes, the Three Revolutions Exhibition, opened in 1992, and featuring highly futuristic monuments and designs, including a planetshaped silver sphere, with Saturn-like rings surrounding it, and a remarkable interactive
exhibit dedicated to the DPRK’s satellite programme. We will then drive south to the city of Kaesong for an exploration of the DPRK’s pre-Korean War architecture, a journey of 2.5 hours down the (almost) dead-straight Reunification Highway. We will stay overnight at the delightful Minsok Folk Hotel, housed in a traditional Korean set of houses arranged around courtyards, and dating from the Li dynasty. The atmosphere here will transport you back to pre-socialist Korea, an era well before the gargantuan monuments and highrise blocks of Pyongyang were conceived. Friday October 11th: Korean Architecture before 1945 Following a traditional breakfast in the Minsok’s charming traditional restaurant, our first visit is to Panmunjom and the DMZ, where North and South Korea continue their decades- old face-off. We then drive back into the city of Kaesong and visit the Kaesong Koryo Museum, which is housed in a beautiful old Confucian University, to learn about the long, rich history of the building and surrounding area. We will then have lunch in a local restaurant in the centre of Kaesong’s old town, before taking a guided walk around the city’s charming old streets and courtyards. After lunch we will ascend Janam Hill, situated in the heart of the city, at the top of which stands the city’s statue of President Kim Il Sung. There is also the traditional Kwangbok pavilion here, and the hill’s rocky edge affords great views over the old part of the city, as well as of the huge edifice of the city’s more modern Schoolchildren’s Palace, opened in 1961. We then take a 20-minute drive to the beautiful Tomb of King Kongmin, the twindomed tomb of the 31st King of the Koryo Dynasty (918 - 1392 AD) and his wife which remained largely undamaged during the Korean War. Following this, we return to Pyongyang to the deluxe Potonggang Hotel. This Pyongyang institution dates from 1973, is located on a pretty stretch of the Potong River, and has been thoroughly renovated inside to the highest standard currently available in Pyongyang. Afterwards we proceed to the excellent Duck BBQ restaurant for dinner, before transferring to the Koryo Hotel for our final night. Saturday October 12th: Departure This morning we will transfer to Pyongyang airport for our morning Air Koryo flight to Beijing, where our tour will end.
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Koryo Group (Koryo Tours and Koryo Studio) is a British-run company based in Beijing specialising in DPRK (North Korea) Travel, Cultural Exchange, Art, Film, Publications, and Merchandise. We are very proud of the work we do in Korea and our expertise is based on the monthly visits we have made to the country since 1993. Koryo Tours is recognised as being the only North Korea travel specialists and provide tourists and North Koreans alike with the greatest opportunity of exchange. Our cultural projects have the support of the British Government. We believe passionately in engagement and from the impact that our various projects have had on the ground in Korea we need no other vindication of this approach. At Koryo Tours we thrive on exchanging ideas to give the North Korean people the opportunities that interaction brings. Whether you are simply wanting to visit the country, run a sporting event, art show, film screening, or just want to know more then please contact us. We love a challenge and our list of achievements are testament to both our efforts and expertise as well as that of our Korean partner. This list includes; the first western documentaries filmed in the DPRK, opening up new tourist destinations, sports exchanges, the first ever nationwide screening of a Western feature film, the first co-production of a romantic comedy feature film, being the first travel company to take in over 2,000 tourists a year, commissioning the first pieces of Korean art for international exhibitions. These all make up the first small steps to engagement.
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Pyongyang’s architecture is one of the DPRK’s (North Korea) highlights. In any socialist regime, architecture plays a key part in the proc...