What to See in Pyongyang (North Korea)

By | July 9, 2022

According to ITYPEMBA, Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea. The city stands on the banks of the Taedong-gun and Potong-gun rivers in western North Korea. Translated from Korean, its name means “wide land” or “cozy place”. The exact date of the founding of the city is not known, but it is known for certain that already in the 5th century AD. Pyongyang was the capital of the state of Goguryeo, that is, the entire northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The favorable geographical position on the Taedong-gan River near the coast of the West Korea Bay predetermined the fate of the city – it has always been an important trading center. In the middle of the 20th century, during the Korean Patriotic War, the city was almost completely destroyed. At the end of the Pyongyang war restored. Now the city has the status of a separate administrative unit, equated to the province.

The center of Pyongyang is the Kim Il Sung Square. It was built in 1954 on the right bank of the Taedong River. The area covers an area of 75 thousand square meters. m. and completely paved with granite. All public holidays, demonstrations, colorful processions and parades are held here. The square houses the Korea Art Gallery and the Central History Museum of Korea.. The Central History Museum of Korea was opened in 1945. At that time, it was located on the Moran-bong hill, it was moved to Kim Il Sung Square in 1977. The museum consists of 19 halls, which tell about the history of the country from primitive society to the present day. The Art Gallery of Korea was opened in 1954. Its outer walls are decorated with portraits of Lenin and Marx. In the museum you can see works of art, from ancient times to modern times. These are frescoes of ancient tombs, and paintings made with oil paints, and engravings, and sculptures, and even artistic embroidery.

At the Central Historical Museum on the embankment there is the Taedong Gate, preserved from the ancient fortress wall. Not far from here is the bell of the ancient Pyongyang fortress weighing about 13 tons. This bell was cast in the 18th century to replace a destroyed 6th century bell. Also of interest here is the pavilion Rengwan, from the time of the state of Goguryeo. The building was almost completely rebuilt in the 17th century. The walls of the gazebo are decorated with paintings.

Opposite the Kim Il Sung Square on the other side of the river stands one of the most outstanding monuments of Pyongyang – the Juche Idea Monument which is visible from almost anywhere in the city. This is truly a grand building. The monument was erected in 1982 for the 70th anniversary of Kim Il Sung. It has a 170-meter tower crowned with a 20-meter-high red torch. On the front and back of the tower there are golden letters folded into the word “Juche”. The tower itself is made of 70 granite blocks, and 70 flowers are engraved on the stone slabs of its pedestal, which symbolizes the 70th birthday of Kim Il Sung. The tower has an elevator that takes tourists to the observation deck located on the torch. The site offers a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings. On the back side of the pedestal, in a niche, there is a wall assembled from more than 200 marble and granite slabs sent by Juche adherents from around the world. In front of the tower you can see a 30-meter sculptural composition. It consists of sculptures of a worker, a peasant woman and an intellectual, each holding his own tool of labor: a hammer, a sickle and a brush. The crossed hammer, sickle and brush are the emblem of the Workers’ Party of Korea. This sculptural group symbolizes the vitality of the Juche idea and its creative power. The Juche idea was developed by Kim Il Sung and introduced into North Korea as national. In essence, it is the Korean “version” of Marxism-Leninism and means “reliance on one’s own strength.” There is a park around the Juche Idea Monument, and in front of the monument, right in the middle of the Taedong River, there are 2 fountains that can throw a column of water to a height of 150 m, which makes them one of the highest fountains in the world.

Behind Kim Il Sung Square on Namsan Hill is the People’s Study Palace (1982). It is the largest Korean-style building in North Korea. The People’s Palace of Studies has a total area of ​​100,000 square meters. m. He is famous for the fact that his library contains more than 30 million books. Nearby is the building of the Art Theater decorated with mosaics and reliefs. (1976), which is surrounded by fountains.

To the north of Kim Il Sung Square rises Mansu-de hill. The hill is crowned by the sculptural ensemble of Kim Il Sung and the Museum of the Korean Revolution, to which several rows of wide stairs lead. The central place in the sculptural ensemble of Kim Il Sung is occupied by a bronze statue of Kim Il Sung, 22 meters high, which was installed on his 60th birthday in 1972. On either side of the statue of Kim Il Sung are sculptural groups symbolizing the anti-Japanese war and the Patriotic Liberation War. They are 23-meter flag monuments, which have more than 100 sculptures. Behind the monuments is the Museum of the Korean Revolution. Its wall is decorated with a 70 x 13 m mosaic depicting the Paektu-san volcano, where Korean partisans once hid. The mosaic is the backdrop for the sculptural ensemble of Kim Il Sung. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, a monument commemorating the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The monument consists of a pedestal in the form of a ring, on which there are sculptures in the form of outstretched hands holding a hammer, sickle and brush. The height of the monument and the diameter of the ring are 50 m each, these dimensions are reminiscent of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the party. On the outer surface of the ring, the slogan is carved: “Long live the Workers’ Party of Korea – the organizer and inspirer of all the victories of the Korean people!” Its inner surface is covered with relief groups.

Not far from here, on the hillside of Mansu-de, stands the Chollima Monument .. It was installed on April 15, 1961 on the occasion of Kim Il Sung’s 49th birthday. The Chollima is a winged horse from Korean mythology that is known for its stamina. A worker is sitting on a horse, holding a “Red Letter” from the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and a peasant woman. The total height of the monument is 46 m. ​​Chollima was erected in order to show the spirit and boundless strength of the Korean people spent on rebuilding the country after the Korean War of 1950-1953. On the hill, you can also see the 15th century Sunryong Temple, which was built in honor of the mythical hero King Tangun.

At the Mansu-de hill rises another hill – Moran-bon. It is considered the most picturesque place in the city. The hill is occupied by numerous parks with lush vegetation and flowers. In addition, historical monuments built during the period of the Goguryeo state are stored here. Pubek pavilion built in the middle of the 6th century is interesting. On the wall of the pavilion hangs a plaque with the inscription of the name of the pavilion, made in the early 19th century by the famous calligrapher Cho Gwang Jeong. During the Patriotic War of Liberation, the Pubek pavilion served as a command post. On the Moran-bon hill, you can visit the ancient gazebo Ylmir, which is part of the observation tower of the former fortress wall. The gazebo was built in the traditional style on a stone pedestal 11 meters high. It offers scenic views of the Taedong River. A little lower is the Henmu Gate.. At the highest point of the hill is the pavilion Chweseung. The walls of the gazebo are covered with paintings. In addition, there is the Chilseong Gate, which is called the “Gate of Love”, on the hill. If you walk under them, holding hands, it is believed that love will never run out. Of the monuments of modern history, on the Moran-bon hill is the Liberation Monument, which was erected in 1946 in memory of the dead Soviet soldiers who fought for the liberation of the DPRK. It is a stele 30 m high, on top of which there is a five-pointed star.

At the foot of the Moran-bon hill you can see the Arc de Triomphe. It was installed in 1982 at the place where in 1945 after the defeat of Japan In World War II, Kim Il Sung delivered a speech on the independence of the nation. In fact, this is just one of the local “legends” about the Great Leader that the Koreans love to compose. The arch is a copy of the French Arc de Triomphe, only the Korean arch is slightly larger. The height of the Arc de Triomphe is 60 m, the travel arches are 27 m high. The travel arches are located on all four sides and are decorated along the contour with stone carvings in the form of 70 azalea flowers, which symbolizes the 70th anniversary of the Great Leader. The arch itself has decorations in the form of a carved hymn to Kim Il Sung, golden numbers 1925 and 1945 (those years when the Great Leader embarked on the path of fighting Japan and when he finally “won”), images of Mount Paektu-san (a symbol of the beginning of the revolution), and sculptural groups on the themes of building socialism in the country.

Not far from here is the Kim Il Sung Stadium. It is one of the largest stadiums in the world. At the entrance to the stadium, a huge mosaic panel 45 m long and 15 m high weighs. The panel depicts Kim Il Sung, speaking in 1945 to the people with a speech about the independence of the state. The total area of the stadium is 146 thousand square meters. m, the stadium can accommodate 100 thousand spectators. It is equipped with the latest technology – here you can play several games at the same time, and it is possible to arrange games even at night. The 1967 Pyongyang TV Tower rises in the vicinity of Moran-bon Hill. In the tower on the upper floors there is a restaurant, from where the whole city is visible at a glance.

Opposite Moran-bong Hill on Seungna Island, located in the riverbed of the Taedong-gun, is the May Day Stadium. This is the largest stadium in the world, because its capacity is about 150 thousand spectators. It is here that the festive events of the Arirang Festival take place on 15.

In the northeastern part of Pyongyang, 10 km from the city center, there is the Kumsusan Palace with the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung., which is the largest mausoleum in the world. Bowing to the body of the Great Leader is the duty of every inhabitant of the country who has reached the age of 18. You need to walk to the palace on foot from the square, located about a kilometer from it. Before entering the mausoleum, you need to go through a security check and hand over all personal belongings. The palace has several halls, in one of them there is a sarcophagus with the body of the Great Leader. There are also halls with awards of Kim Il Sung and halls with sculptures depicting the day the leader died.

Near the mausoleum on Chuzhak hill there is a memorial complex with a cemetery of revolutionary comrades-in-arms of Kim Il Sung. At the foot of the hill Chuzhak are the remains of the wall of the Tesonsan fortress. Now there is an amusement park, a zoo and a botanical garden. In the Botanical Garden, you can see interesting types of flowers – Kimirsenghwa and Kimjongirhwa. Kimersenkhwa was brought out in Indonesia and presented to the Great Leader, kimchenirhwa was brought out by a Japanese and presented to the Great Leader. The garden also has an arboretum and an incense garden.

In the southern part of the city, the monument of the Three Charters of the Reunification of the Motherland is interesting.. It was opened in 2001. The height of the monument is 30 m, and the total area is 110 thousand square meters. m. The monument is made in the form of an arch, the vaults of which are sculptures of two women who stretch towards each other. Women support an emblem with the letters “Three Charters” and a map of Korea. They symbolize the warring south and north of the Korean Peninsula, who still want to unite. On both sides, the pedestals of the monument are decorated with bas-reliefs.

In the southwestern part of Pyongyang is the modern district of Mangyong-de. Here on the Mangyong hill is the reconstructed home of Kim Il Sung. This is a real place of pilgrimage for Koreans. Small houses in the spirit of the 19th century were built around it, where household items typical of the Great Leader’s childhood and his personal belongings are exhibited. The symbolic burial place of Kim Il Sung’s parents is also located here. In addition, an amusement park and the Palace of Pioneers are located in Mangen-de. Tongmyong Tomb is located

32 km west of Pyongyang. It is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Dongmyeong was the founder of the Goguryeo state. He was originally buried in China, and later his remains were transferred to this place. On the territory of the grave complex there is a chapel, memorial plaques describing the life of Tongmyeon, statues of animals and officials, an altar, burials of people from the immediate environment of Tongmyeon and the tomb itself. The grave hill, in which the tomb is located, has a height of 11.6 m. The ancient wall paintings of the grave complex are interesting. Not far from the complex is the Buddhist temple Chongryn with a seven-tiered pagoda.

From Pyongyang, it is also worth going to the foot of Mount Taebak, where the tomb of Tangun is located.. The fact that it is Tangun that rests in this tomb has not been proven, however, Korean scientists believe that the found remains, about 5000 years old, belong to this mythical king. There is a legend that Tangun, the son of the god Hwanung, founded the first state on the peninsula and became the progenitor of all Koreans. It happened in the 30th century BC. Tangun’s tomb has 9 levels and a height of 22 m. It symbolizes Mount Paektu. The grave complex includes an altar, sculptures of the sons of Tangun, his associates and tigers, which are designed to protect the king.

Pyongyang (North Korea)