The 13 best places to visit in Pyongyang


First opened in 1953 is The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, a historical military museum dedicated to the Korean War. The museum reflects the view of North Korean success against its enemy America and its southern neighbour South Korea. Displaying military hardware used by North Koreans in the conflict, the exhibits in the museum also include a large cache of captured US infantry weapons as well as several captured British and US military vehicles. Chief among them are the ex US M26 Pershing, M4 Sherman and M24 Chaffee tanks, a British army armoured personnel carrier and some downed aircraft from the US led UN forces, though the star of the exhibit is undoubtedly the USS Pueblo.

13. Victorious War Museum


Anchored in the Potong River behind the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum is the USS Pueblo, an American research ship working with Navy intelligence as a spy ship. Captured by North Korean forces, along with 83 crew members in 1968, it became a major Cold War incident, raising tensions between the west, the Soviet Union and China. The USS Pueblo remains a commissioned ship of the United States, and is the only ship of the US Navy currently held captive. Visitors to the site are able to board the vessel and even gain access to the secret code room.

12. The USS Pueblo


At 329 metres (1,080 ft) high, towering above the surrounding buildings of the capital city is the 105 storey pyramidal skyscraper, Ryugyong Hotel, the tallest structure in North Korea. Construction began in 1987, only to be halted in 1992 during a period of economic crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union. Construction resumed in 2008 with the aim of opening in 2012, but as of 2018 it remained unopened. Known as the tallest unfinished building in the world, it is an iconic structure of the Pyongyang skyline.

11. Ryugyong Hotel


Opened in the early 1970's, cutting its way under the city is the Pyongyang Metro system. Though used primarily for transporting people around the city, the stations themselves have become tourist attractions thanks to the beautiful coloured glass chandeliers, pretty mosaics, statues and artworks.

Pictured is Puhung Station.

10. Pyongyang Metro


Built in 1976 as an assembly hall, having served as the official residence of Kim Il Sung, the first Supreme Leader of North Korea, the Kamsusan Palace Of The Sun is today his mausoleum. Inside the palace is the embalmed body of Kim Il Sung, lying within a clear glass sarcophagus, his body covered by the flag of the Workers Party Of Korea. His son, Kim Jong Il is now on display in a room close to his fathers, positioned in a very similar way. It is the largest mausoleum dedicated to a Communist leader and the only one to house the remains of more than person. Foreign visitors are able to access the building as part of an official government tour.

9. Kumsusan Palace Of The Sun


Unveiled in 1961, constructed by the famous Mansudae Art Studio for Kim Il Sung's 49th birthday, is the monument known as the Chollima Statue. Standing at 46 metres (150 ft) high, the monument symbolizes the speed of the Chollima Movement, depicting the legendary winged horse that is said to be able to cover 400 kilometres (248 miles) in a day.

8. Chollima Statue


Opened in 2015 between Pyongyang Railway Station and the Taedong River is the Mirae Scientist Street. Built entirely over three years, it is a six lane street of high rise colourful apartment buildings created to house the scientists and employees of various research and technology institutions. Modern and incredibly striking, the tallest and most stand out building is the 53 storey Mirae Unha Tower.

7. Mirae Scientist Street


Completed in 1982 to commemorate Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday is the 170 metre (560 ft) tall Juche Tower, the second tallest monumental column in the world. Directly opposite Kim Il Sung Square across the River Taedong, the architectural style was inspired by stone pagodas of ancient Korea. At its peak is a 22 metre (66 ft) high, 45 ton illuminated metal torch that remains constantly lit. Below the torch is a viewing platform that offers visitors a fantastic panoramic view over the city.

6. Juche Tower


Completed in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers Party of Korea is the highly symbolic Monument To Party Founding. Standing 50 metres (160 ft) high, the monument depicts three fists surrounded by a belt, symbolizing the unity of the leader, party and people. Designed and created by the Mansudae Art Studio, the hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush refers to the unity of farmers, workers and intellectuals.

5. Monument To Party Founding


Built in 1982 on the Triumph Return Square at the foot of Moran Hill is the Arch Of Triumph, built to commemorate the Korean resistance from Japan from 1925 to 1945. Modeled on the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, the Pyongyang arch is considerably larger, measuring 60 metres (197 ft) high and 50 metres (164 ft) wide it is the second largest triumphal arch in the world. From its observation platform it offers visitors one of the finest views in the city.

4. Arch Of Triumph


Opened in 2001 to commemorate Korean reunification proposals put forward by the late Kim Il Sung, is the Arch Of Reunification, officially known as the Monument To The Three Point Charter For National Reunification. Representing two Korean women in traditional dress jointly holding a map of unified Korea, the concrete arch spans the six lane Reunification Highway leading from Pyongyang to the Demilitarized Zone.

3. Arch Of Reunification


Originally opened in 1972 on Mansu Hill to commemorate Kim Il Sung's 60th birthday is the Mansu Hill Grand Monument, one of the most famous landmarks in North Korea. At first only the statue of Kim Il Sung stood at the site, but in 2011 following the death of Kim Jong Il, his statue was added next to the original. At the same time the statue of Kim Il Sung underwent alterations to portray him smiling and at a later age. Completed in 2012, the statues stand in front of the Korean Revolution Museum, displaying a mosaic mural depicting Mount Paektu, the most sacred location in North Korea. Standing at 22 metres (72 ft) high, these statues of the first two Supreme Leaders are the tallest statues in the country.

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2. Mansu Hill Grand Monument


Constructed in 1954 during the rebuilding of the city after the Korean War is the enormous Kim Il Sung Square, the main city square named after the first leader of North Korea. Able to hold around 100,000 people, the square has great cultural significance, as it is the gathering place for rallies, dances and military parades, often showcasing the countries military might.


Surrounded by large government buildings, at the head of the square is one of North Korea's most impressive structures, the Great People's Study House. Constructed in a traditional Korean style in 1982, it was built to celebrate Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday. Though primarily used as a library and place of study, the building is one of the countries most prominent structures, having become somewhat of an icon for the nation, a significant centre for studying Juche Communism and a place to learn about the Eternal leader.

Pictured from the Juche Tower.

1. Kim Il Sung Square

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