Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Ryugyong Hotel: North Korea’s Deathstar

A fascinating look inside North Korea, by the Rugged Gentleman:

Let’s try to imagine the cityscape of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. The buildings are grim and utilitarian, a sprawl of identical decaying apartments and mostly idle factories. Everything here was built since the war, when American bombs obliterated the city that had existed before.

It’s a quiet town. Fewer people live in Pyongyang than you would expect for a city of its size. Those empty factories don’t need many workers so most North Koreans live in the rural parts of the country eking out a living as farmers or working for the state’s largest employer, the North Korean military.

The city streets are also nearly carless due to the country’s lack of oil. The broad avenues that run through the center of Pyongyang still occasionally serve as venue for the epic military parades by which the regime seeks to demonstrate its might, but most of the time their eerie lack of traffic betrays the severity of North Korea’s economic trouble.

Read the rest here:

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