North Korea (DPRK)Country Overview Flags of North Korea (DPRK)Coat of arms of North Korea (DPRK)North Korean Anthem (DPRK)Founded: September 9, 1948 Official Language: Korean Government Form: One-Party Socialist Republic Territory: 120 540 km² (98th in the world) Population: 24,720,407 people. (49th in the world) Capital: Pyongyang Currency: Won DPRK (KPW) Time zone: UTC + 9 Largest city: Pyongyang VVP: $ 32.7 billion (91st in the world) Internet domain: .kp Phone code: +850
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) - A state in East Asia, occupying the northern part of the Korean Peninsula and the adjacent part of the continent. In the north, North Korea borders with China and Russia, in the south - with South Korea; in the east it is washed by the Sea of Japan, in the west - by the Yellow. The area is 120 540 km². The population is 25,564,184 people (2018), mainly Koreans. Administrative and territorial division: 9 provinces and 3 cities of central subordination, equated to provinces (Pyongyang, Kaesong, Nampho). The capital is Pyongyang. The head of state is the president. The official language is Korean.
The DPRK is one of the most closed states in the world community and a real "reserve of communism", with an amazingly hard-working people and centuries-old culture. All this makes it a unique tourist destination, not everyone can see and appreciate.
Climate and weather
The DPRK is in a zone of moderate monsoon climate, for which the characters have significant seasonal differences. Winter is always dry and clear, but rather cold, and summer is warm and mild. In winter, cold continental air flows into the country, so the average air temperature is -8 ° C in the northern regions and -4 ° C in the south, and in the mountains it sometimes drops to -18 ° C. In the summer, the thermometer varies between + 18 ... +22 ° С.
The greatest amount of precipitation falls on the monsoon season (July) and late autumn. In the winter season, snow falls rarely enough, but often strong winds blow.
The most favorable time for a visit to the country is considered to be early autumn and late spring.
North Korea is located in eastern Asia, in the north of the Korean Peninsula. The state has land borders with three countries: the Republic of Korea, China (along the Tumangan and Amnokkan rivers) and Russia (along the Tumangan River). In the east, the DPRK is washed by the Sea of Japan, and in the west by the Korean Gulf and the Yellow Sea.
The entire territory of the state is predominantly mountainous terrain, which is carved by many ravines and valleys. The country has a large number of national parks, reserves, forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls.
The DPRK is a very interesting and distinctive state, with a special atmosphere and a huge number of unique attractions.
One of the country's main monuments is the 170-meter-long Juche Idea Tower in Pyongyang. And next to it stands no less impressive sculptural group depicting a worker, a peasant and an intellectual.
It is also recommended to pay attention to the impressive Triumphal Arch, the Pyongyang TV Tower and the giant stadium. Kim Il Sung. Another remarkable place is the pompous square to them. Kim Il Sung with the People's Palace of study. In addition, it is necessary to highlight the sculptural ensemble of Kim Il Sung, the Liberation Monument, the Chollima Monument and the home of Kim Il Sung, which is one of the main shrines for the inhabitants of the country.
The Kumsusan Memorial Palace with the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung, the ruins of the royal palace of Ankhakkun, the Monument to the Unification of Korea, the pyramidal building of the unfinished Hotel Rugen and the Memorial Cemetery of Revolutionaries are of no less interest. In addition, Pyongyang boasts a huge number of museums, which are simply impossible to list.
Other cities in the DPRK, of course, are not so replete with remarkable objects, but they are also quite interesting. For example, the city of Kaesong can attract travelers with the building of an old Confucian college, the Sonchuk Bridge, the Yenbok, Henhwa and Kvanyum temples, a memorial stele with the signature of Kim Il Sung and ancient tombs.
Among other sights of the DPRK, it is necessary to highlight the famous "38th parallel" along which the border with South Korea, the medieval Voljongs temple, the complex of palaces and shrines of the Joseon dynasty and the Silla kingdoms, the extinct Pectusan volcano, numerous Buddhist temples, the Jeonbangan fortress wall and the most beautiful mountain ranges with waterfalls.
In the DPRK there is a fairly large number of a variety of culinary institutions, but most often there are restaurants and snack bars, specializing directly in the national cuisine.
Among tourists, one of the most popular Korean dishes is kuksu, which is buckwheat noodles with meat, greens and broth. Also widespread is the dish "kimchi", which is based on pickled cabbage, and the cooks themselves decide what to add (radish, garlic, onion, pepper, fruit, clams, etc.).
In addition, in any restaurant you can try traditional Korean soups:
- "Calbi-Than" (beef ribs with ribs);
- "suububu-chige" from soy and mollusks;
- spicy fish soup "mainhan";
- meat soup with rice "luotal" and many others.
Also worth paying attention to:
- kusi (potato noodles);
- bean curd "tuba";
- acorn jelly tothorimuk;
- kebabs "pulgogi";
- dumplings "mandu";
- pork ribs "kalbi";
- omelets with different fillings;
- fish and seafood dishes.
The main delicacy of Korean cuisine is dog meat, which is prepared not only as an independent dish, but also added to others. In this regard, if you do not want to try dog meat, you must immediately tell the waiter.
For dessert, most often offered candied or cooked in syrup fruit. It is also recommended to try "hodukvaczha" (walnut-shaped cookies).
If we talk about drinks, then tea and coffee are practically not consumed here, but often mineral water, rice water and herbal infusions ("choa") are often found. Well, from the alcoholic beverages the most popular are "insam-yu" (ginseng vodka), "maccori" (rice wine), "nonchju" (unpretentious moonshine), "sozhuzh" (rice liqueur) and local beer (made from rice or millet) .
There are no problems with accommodation of tourists in the DPRK, as the travel agency is responsible for finding and booking a hotel, and payment for accommodation is included in the tour price in advance.
First-class hotels and resorts, which are designed specifically for foreigners, are located in the capital, Pyongyang. Most often they are classified as deluxe, for example, it is Yanggakdo or Koryo.
But in other cities there are only one or two hotels for groups of foreign tourists. In addition, there are class 1, 2 or 3 class hotels everywhere, the level of which does not always correspond to the European classification. It is not recommended to settle in such places, although, most likely, the travel agency and guide will not allow it.
Entertainment and recreation
One of the most vivid impressions of staying in the DPRK can be obtained during the celebration of the First of May and Independence Day (September 9). In accordance with the traditions adopted here, grand parades and processions, mass demonstrations of labor and sports groups, army parades and other events take place on these days. Also, the birthday of Kim Jong-il (February 16), the birthday of Kim Il Sung (April 5), Victory Day in the Patriotic War of Liberation (July 27), Constitution Day (December 27) and other anniversaries are celebrated here annually. Well, among traditional festivals, the First Full Moon Day, Chusok (a harvest festival and commemoration of departed ancestors) and the New Year, which has no official status, are most popular.
Cultural life in the DPRK is quite rich, but for the most part it is concentrated in the capital, where the main theaters, concert halls, leisure parks and museums are concentrated.
If we talk about nightlife, then it is almost absent, and nightclubs are a real rarity.
In the DPRK, lovers of outdoor activities will love it, as the wildlife here is simply gorgeous. You can inspect it during specially organized tourist routes. The most common trips are to the mountains of Gymgansan and to the beautiful Samillpho lake, as well as to the rocky massif of Kuvolsan, the picturesque islands of the Kanhvaman bay, the Myohyan mountain range, the extinct volcano Pectusan and other scenic places.
In addition, a variety of sports, both traditional and western, are popular in the DPRK. Therefore, there are often various sports competitions for which numerous stadiums are built, for example, the Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang.
In the DPRK, accommodation, food and other services are deliberately included in the tour price, so money here will be required only for souvenirs and souvenirs. And you can buy them only in hotels and tourist shops of large cities (for example, Pyongyang, Sinuiju, Kaesong or Nampo), as well as in places of revolutionary glory and near popular memorials, tombs and monasteries. Well, trips to ordinary government stores are not welcome here.
One of the most expensive and popular souvenirs from the DPRK is hand embroidery, which is a very skillful picture.
Also everywhere there are Korean paintings, porcelain from Kaesong, coins and stamps with images of chiefs, printing products and wood and stone carving.
In addition, it is recommended to pay attention to products from the famous ginseng, traditional mushroom and herbal teas, as well as bear bile.
It is worth noting that in addition to souvenirs, tourist shops offer food, drinks, clothing, cosmetics and even appliances. Although the choice in them is not too wide, and the prices are quite high. And the cost is indicated in euros, and tourists can only pay in currency, but they will not be able to use a credit card anywhere.
But a pleasant nuance of local shopping is the fact that if the seller does not have a change, then it will be delivered later and handed in person in your hands literally on the same day.
The transport network in the DPRK is developed quite well, but today it is outdated. You can travel around the country on trains and buses, as well as on steam locomotives. In addition, there are many navigable rivers on the territory of the DPRK, which here are an additional waterway. The major ports are located in the cities of Hamhung, Gimchek, Heju, Chongjin, and Nampho.
There are also 78 airports in the country, the main carrier of which is the state company Air Kore.
If we talk about public transport, it is most developed in the capital, where citizens move on trolley buses, trams and subways. Buses, minibuses and cars are quite rare. For the most part this is due to a shortage of fuel. The main way to travel a large part of the population is by bicycle, but women are prohibited from this type of transport.
It should be borne in mind that the travel agency is engaged in the solution of all the issues of tourist movement, and it is allowed to travel independently in the country only with a guide.
DPRK telecommunications systems are rather outdated, and in most cases telephone lines are stretched only to government agencies and organizations, as well as to post offices. If we talk about pay phones, they are extremely rare. A direct international call can be made from large metropolitan hotels, although the rates for negotiations here are quite high. But in the provincial hotels the international telephone service is not provided at all. Calling from the International Telecommunication Center in Pyongyang is quite a profitable option for international calls.
Since March 2009, the ban on the use of cellular phones has been lifted in the DPRK; therefore, at present, citizens can use mobile services.
However, its main subscribers are businessmen, civil servants and foreigners, since for the rest of the country these services remain a luxury. The main supplier of cellular communications SUNNET (KPTC, GSM 900) does not yet have roaming agreements with other countries, however, operators in South Korea, China and the Russian Federation (Far East) function well in the border areas.
The Internet in the country is developing slowly and under strict state control. Internet cafes are available only in the capital, and access to them is provided only to the inter-Korean computer network.
In terms of tourism, the DPRK is rightfully considered the safest country on the whole continent: the crime rate is very low here, and law enforcement agencies are present at almost every corner. In addition, any foreign tourist must be accompanied by a special guide. It is worth noting that many of them are employees of state security agencies, although they behave correctly and tactfully.
If we talk about the medical aspects, then in case of any health problems, a trip to the DPRK is not recommended. The fact is that recently the medical institutions of this country suffer from a lack of resources, and the staff are often not sufficiently qualified.
Of course, in any case, you can get emergency medical care, but for serious diseases, local doctors may be powerless.
Today, the DPRK economy is considered one of the most underdeveloped and poor in the world. Moreover, the reason for this is considered to be the Juche policy, as well as the excessive militarization of the country. The entire economic and business life of the DPRK is completely centralized and closed to the rest of the world. Since the DPRK has not announced any official economic statistics since the early 1960s, all data on its economy and business conditions are based only on external evaluations of experts.
Private business in the DPRK is in very unfavorable conditions, although the illegal market is widely developed, which is based on the implementation of Chinese smuggling. At the same time, the tax system in the DPRK was completely abolished, and the duty to pay taxes was imposed only on foreigners and enterprises with foreign capital.
Due to the lack of market competition and the inaccessibility of foreign investments, the quality of housing in the DPRK is extremely low, and the commercial sector of the real estate market is seriously lacking. Moreover, the planned economy of this state implies a minimum amount of private property. Therefore, individuals, regardless of whether they are residents of the country or not, are not able to buy an apartment. Moreover, the real estate market here is practically absent, which does not allow even an approximate cost of an apartment to be determined. By the way, housing here is state property, which is provided free of charge to the population participating in the development of the socialist economy of the country.
If we talk about rental housing, then it is not prohibited here, but foreign guests will have to limit themselves to only a few choices from hotel complexes.
In the DPRK for foreigners there are some restrictions on movement in the country. Moreover, officially entry into the territory of the DPRK is allowed only to organized tourist groups, and an independent tourist must be accompanied by a guide. Moreover, independent walks in the city, which go beyond the official route, are under an unofficial ban. The compilation of all travel routes, places to visit and even the menu is in the hands of the guide and the travel company. Although in the presence of tact, it will not be difficult to agree with local guides, of course, if the wishes do not contradict local laws.
It is also necessary to remember that in the DPRK it is forbidden to photograph military personnel and strategically important objects, including bridges, airports, ports, etc.
Currently, entry into the DPRK is allowed only as part of officially organized groups, and a visa is also issued only for a group. You can get it through travel agencies officially recognized by the Korean Foreign Ministry or through the consular section of the DPRK Embassy, which is much longer and more difficult.
To obtain a tourist visa, you are required to submit an application from an officially recognized tour operator, a completed application form, confirmation of the tour, proof of sufficient funds, 1 photo, a letter of guarantee from the employer, a copy of your passport and passport, valid for at least 6 months.
The embassy of the DPRK in the Russian Federation is located at the address: Moscow, ul. Mosfilmovskaya, 72. Tel: (495) 783-27-17, 143-62-31, 143-62-47.
According to Korean history, the first of the Korean rulers was born in 2333 BC. Less inclined to fiction scholars believe that Korea was first settled around 30,000 BC, when tribes from central and southern Asia came to the peninsula. Under constant threat from China, these tribes united and formed a single state in the 1st century AD. By 700 AD The Korean Kingdom of Silla experienced its cultural heyday, building palaces, pagodas and gardens for entertainment throughout the country and influencing even the development of Japanese culture. But at the beginning of the 13th century, the Mongols came to Korea and used their scorched-earth tactics here. When the Mongol Empire collapsed, the Joseon dynasty came to the throne; Korean writing was developing at this time. In 1592, the Japanese invaded the country, the Chinese followed them, the Koreans were defeated, and the Manchu Chinese dynasty seized power. Turning its back on a cruel and evil world, Korea closed off from foreign influence until the early 20th century, when the Japanese annexed the peninsula to their territory. The Japanese, who remained in Korea until the end of the Second World War, were cruel rulers, and anti-Japanese sentiments are all very strong in both North and South Korea. Most of the guerrilla actions against the Japanese invaders took place in the northern provinces and in Manchuria, and the northerners are still proud of the significant role they played in the liberation struggle against Japan.
After the war, the US occupied the south of the peninsula, and the USSR occupied the northern part. Stalin sent Kim II-Sung ("Great Leader"), a young Korean officer from a special unit of the Red Army, to lead the communist movement in the north, and he consistently achieved that he became the head of the independent North Korean government, contrary to UN plans to hold national elections. Elections were held only in South Korea, and when she declared her independence, North Korea occupied her. A grueling war lasted until 1953 (or still lasts when you consider that the South has not signed an armistice agreement).
Sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten War”, as it took place between the global catastrophes of the Second World War and the full moral conflicts and numerous Vietnam Moratoria, the Korean War was fierce and brutal. By the time it ended, there were two million dead, and North Korea was almost literally wiped out by the almost uninterrupted bombardment by the US Air Force, more intense than those to which Japan and Germany were subjected during World War II. The peninsula was officially divided into two parts along the 38th parallel, and Kim II-Sung led the country along the pro-Soviet way, conducting purges in the Soviet style, creating gulags in the Soviet style, and even creating a cult of personality Kim in the Soviet style. But North Korea’s economy developed more rapidly in the early years after the war than in the south, thanks to Juche’s ideology (self-confidence) created and introduced by Kim. North Korea developed the economy, using the means of production left by the Japanese, and made a big breakthrough in the social sphere; for the first time, North Koreans received schools, hospitals, food supplies, labor laws and places to rest. Life has improved markedly for those who were not class enemies.
But the post-war period took place in an atmosphere of constant clashes and bad-neighborly relations between North and South Korea. Mutual shots and insults continued for many years, while the United States and Russia were always on the alert to protect their protégés. By the beginning of 1999, the cult of Kim II-Sung was in its prime - the sun was rising and setting literally at the order of Chief Kim II-Sung, and his image was in the heart of every North Korean. Even his death in 1994 and widespread famine in the late 1990s could not destroy this massive adoration.
In 1994, Kim II-Sung surprised everyone by declaring that he would freeze North Korea’s nuclear program and meet with South Korean President Kim Yun-sama for summit talks. The summit negotiations did not take place since Kim Sung died on July 8, 1994. His son Kim Jong ("Dear Leader") took the reins in his hands, and the country entered a new period of even greater uncertainty. The general feeling that he is not too consistent supporter of old traditions.
Over the next six years, Kim Jong led a secluded life, refusing to meet with heads of other states or any officials. There were rumors that the Dear Leader spends most of his time watching foreign videos and tasting imported cognac at a clearly non-Marxist speed. In 1998, North Korea declared Kim II-Sung (who died four years ago) as their Eternal President. Kim Jong received the second highest post in the country - Chairman of the National Defense Committee. None of these events could boost the economy or eliminate food shortages.
There were legends about the policy of isolation and isolation pursued by Kim Jong, so after the announcement of the historic meeting between Kim Jong and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in June 2000, the entire Asian world stopped waiting. Kim Jong’s expansiveness and openness can mean one of two things: either it’s really the end of the Cold War policy and North Korea is entering the 21st century, or Kim Jong is playing a tricky game, manipulating his nuclear explorations in front of his longtime opponent - the United States.
In recent years, even such a closed country as North Korea began its own economic restructuring (although not as large-scale as in the USSR), attracting Japanese and Chinese capital.
Since the mid-1920s, the Japanese colonial administration has made efforts to develop industry in the relatively mineral-rich and sparsely populated northern part of the country, which led to a large influx of people to the north of the Korean Peninsula from the southern agricultural provinces.
This process ended after the Second World War, when, after the division of Korea into the zones of occupation of the USSR and the USA, about 2 million people moved into the American sector. The trend persisted after the formation of the DPRK in 1948 and after the Korean War in 1950-53. North Korea’s population now stands at 22.5 million.
The post-war division of the Korean Peninsula created an imbalance between natural and human resources in both countries. Most of the economic assessments boil down to the fact that the DPRK had a great industrial potential, whereas in South Korea two thirds of the entire workforce was concentrated. In 1945, about 65% of the heavy industry in Korea was in the north, while the share of light industry was 31%, and the share of agriculture and trade was 37% and 18%, respectively.
Both North and South Korea suffered severe war damage. In the early postwar years, the DPRK mobilized all human and natural resources to rebuild a devastated economy, and succeeded quite well in this — until the 1960s, the DPRK economy developed much faster than the South Korean one.
In the early 1970s, North Korea launched a large-scale program to modernize the economy through the import of Western technologies, especially in heavy industry. By that time, the country was on the verge of default due to reduced demand for its goods abroad, as well as the oil crisis of the 1970s.
In 1979, North Korea was able to cover its external debt, but already in 1980 a default occurred in the country: the country was declared bankrupt on all obligations, excluding Japan’s debt. By the end of 1986, the country's debt to Western creditors exceeded $ 1 billion. The debt to the countries of the socialist camp, mainly the USSR, has reached $ 2 billion. Around the same time, Japan also announced the default of the DPRK. By 2000, the DPRK's external debt, including interest and fines, was 10-12 billion US dollars.
At the end of the 20th century, the growth of the DPRK economy slowed down, and became negative in many industries. By the end of 1979, the per capita GNP in North Korea was three times less than in South Korea. There were many reasons for this, including problems with foreign debt, a bias in the direction of heavy industry and the military-industrial complex, political and, as a result, economic isolation of the country, poor investment climate, etc.
In April 1982, Kim Il Sung announced the construction of a new economy, in which emphasis was placed on the development of agriculture through land reclamation and the development of state infrastructure - in particular, power plants and the transport network.
In September 1984, North Korea passed a joint venture law, the main purpose of which was to attract foreign capital and technology. In 1991, North Korea announced the creation of a Special Economic Zone (FEZ) in the north-western region of the country (Chongjin). Investments in the free economic zones flowed with difficulty - they were hampered by poor infrastructure, bureaucracy and the inability to obtain guarantees of investment security.
After the Cold War, financial support from the USSR ceased, and after a few years, China followed suit. This, together with natural disasters, caused a serious economic crisis in North Korean history. According to international experts, between 1992 and 1998, the North Korean economy halved, and several hundred thousand people died of starvation.
In December 1993, the DPRK announced a three-year period of transitional economy, during which it was supposed to alleviate the imbalance between industries, focusing on the development of agriculture, light industry and international trade. However, for several reasons, the government’s plans failed, and the annual shortage of various types of cereals, primarily rice, was about a million tons. In addition, an energy crisis erupted in the country, leading to the shutdown of many industrial enterprises.
In 2002, Kim Jong Il declared that “money should provide the cost of consumer goods”, after which some small market transformations were carried out, the Kaesong industrial region was created, and the first experiments were carried out to introduce self-financing at enterprises. Chinese investments in the North Korean economy grew from $ 1 million in 2003 to $ 200 million in 2004.
Until the mid-1990s. private market trade was extremely underdeveloped in the DPRK, partly because of historical traditions (traders in Confucianism were regarded as the least prestigious group of the population), partly because of a well-functioning ration supply system. However, due to the economic crisis of the mid-1990s, when crop failures coincided with the shutdown of many industrial enterprises, semi-legal market trade began to grow. Attempts by the authorities to turn it down were unsuccessful due to growing corruption. Since the late 1990s. trade is growing in areas bordering with China, through which many South Korean products, which are still officially banned, fall into the DPRK. Punishments to private dealers, compared with the period of 10 years ago, have been significantly reduced; the exception can be considered only the high-profile process in 2007, which ended with the public execution of several dozen traders - their fault was that their packages with gifts to their relatives exceeded the traditional annual “gifts of the leader”, sent on behalf of Kim Jong Il in the same months .
In the post-war history, economic ties between North and South Korea either weakened or re-established. At the beginning of the 21st century, relations between the countries became warmer, which led to a significant increase in South Korean firms' investments in North Korean industry. However, despite this, the economic ties between the two countries are still rather weak.
After the South Korean government allowed trade with its northern neighbor in 1988, North Korean goods were imported into South Korea. Direct trade between countries began after 1990 (this was preceded by a meeting of the prime ministers of both countries). The volume of trade between the countries increased from 18.8 million dollars in 1989 to 333.4 million in 1999.
At the beginning of the XXI century, the president of the South Korean Daewoo Corporation visited North Korea and reached agreement on the construction of an industrial complex in Nampho. Another large corporation, Hyundai Asan, received permission for the tourism business in North Korea - tourists are being transported to the coastal region of Kymgansan (see the Tourist Region of Kymgansan). In addition, near the city of Kaesong, an area of more than 1 billion US dollars was erected on an area of 3.2 km² near the Demilitarized Zone.
After the summit between Kim Jong Il and Kim Dae-jung in 2000, North and South Korea agreed to restore the Seoul-Pyongyang railway section crossing the DMZ. The two sides also announced plans to build a four-lane motorway passing by the village of Panmunjom, where the Korean War was over. After this project is completed, the industrial park in Kaesong will receive direct access to the markets and ports of South Korea.
In addition to Kaesong and the Kumgan region, other special zones were created in the DPRK, such as the Sinyudzha Special Administration Region in the north-west of the country (near the border with China) and Rason in the north-east of the country (near the borders with China and Russia).
The main industries are: engineering, power generation, chemical industry, mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead), metallurgy, textile industry.
The main crops are rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans. In animal husbandry: pig, poultry.
Since 1995, the DPRK has been assisting the UN World Food Program in view of the reduction in agricultural output.In 2004, this program received 484,000 tons of food.
Kaeson - a modern city with wide streets 125 km south of Pyongyang, but practically without any special monuments or historical values. The exception is the Old Quarter, where traditional Korean buildings, whose style has remained unchanged for many centuries, are trapped between the river and the main road.
In Keson, the Sonjuk Bridge, built in 1216, and the Songhin monument, depicting the national hero Chong Mong-ju, are literally miraculously preserved. Not far from the city lies the tomb of King Congmin, the 31st king of Koryo, who ruled from 1352-1374. Here is the mausoleum of Queen Kongmin. The graves are richly decorated with traditional granite tombstones and statues.
Kaeson today has about 200 thousand inhabitants, but 800 years ago, during its heyday, when the city was the capital of the royal Koryo dynasty, its population was close to a million. It was then a luxuriously rich and majestic capital, overflowing with the homes of aristocracy and Buddhist monasteries. The centuries of oblivion and the three big wars, which each time destroyed the city almost to the ground, greatly influenced the modern look of the city, but there are still some relics of former times and a couple of good museums. The main local attraction is the neo-Confucian college Song Jung Wan was built in 992 and then restored after the Japanese invasion of 1592. Now it houses the Koryo Museum with a collection of ancient pottery and other Buddhist relics, sometimes true Confucian ceremonies also take place here .
The city was founded in the X century., Its name comes from the Korean words "ke", which translates as "seashore, bay", and "dream" - "city". In 918, when Van Gon, the great feudal lord of the state of Thebon, proclaimed the kingdom of Kore on its territory, Kaesong became the capital. During its heyday (XII-XIII centuries), the former capital of Korea (in the past of the state of Korea) was a large city with densely populated quarters and majestic buildings, among which Buddhist monasteries stood out. In 992, the neo-Confucian college Son Jung Van was built in the city, which is a true masterpiece of Oriental architecture. During the reign of the royal dynasty of Kore, pagodas, palaces and mausoleums were built in Kesona. The pagodas of the temple of Hönhwas and the Temple of Cancans (the construction of the first dates back to the 11th century, the second - the 14th century) are still among the main attractions of Caeson. In 1216, the Sondjuk Bridge was built in the city, which has survived to the present day. In the years 1352-1374 in the capital of Korea was located the residence of King Congmin - the 31st monarch, who ruled in this state. After the death of the ruler, his mausoleum was built, located near Kaesong. The mausoleum of Queen Kongmin was also built here.
The tombstones of monarchs were made of granite and decorated with stone statues. The graves of the first rulers of the Korean state are located in Kaesong. During the existence of the Kingdom of Kore in Kesona, trade (both internal and external) and various crafts were well developed. In the thirteenth century Kaesong was repeatedly subjected to invasions by the Mongol troops, with the result that most of the city buildings were damaged or destroyed. In particular, during the attacks of the Mongols, the palace of the first Korean rulers Manvolde was destroyed, built back in 918. In the 1360s. Mongolian conquerors were expelled from the city, but this was followed by a long internecine struggle of the Korean contenders for the royal throne. It ended with the victory of Lee Son 1e, who in 1392 declared himself king, establishing a new ruling dynasty of Lee. During the tenure of the Lee dynasty, the royal residence and capital of the state, renamed Joseon, was moved from Kaesong to Seoul. During the following centuries, Japanese troops invaded Kaesh several times, which not only significantly reduced the economic potential of the city and led to a serious reduction in population, but also caused great damage to the architectural structures of the city. Kaeson survived the largest Japanese invasion in 1592
In the 19th century, when Japan and a number of European states secured privileges in the conduct of foreign trade with Korea, Kason’s economic and economic role declined markedly. The situation worsened at the beginning of the 20th century, after the establishment of the Japanese protectorate, and then the annexation of Korea to Japan in 1910. After the defeat of Japan in World War II and the proclamation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which Kaesong was located, the economic and political situation the city began to gradually stabilize. In the years 1950-1953 In Kaesong, a series of negotiations were held and agreements were reached on the establishment of peaceful relations in Korea (these steps were taken in connection with the US aggression against the DPRK). In 1955, the city gates of Namdaemun, built in 1393 and destroyed during the armed conflict of 1950-1953, were restored. In the last decades of the 20th century. Kaeson has become a major industrial center, in which the food and light industries received the greatest development. In the city were built enterprises for the production of textiles, shoes, artificial fibers, porcelain and earthenware, machines, watches. Kaeson plays a leading role in the cultivation and processing of such a valuable medicinal plant as ginseng. The city has a railway station that provides transport links to Pyongyang and Seoul, a theater and a television center are open.
Currently, Kaesong is a relatively small city, built up with modern buildings. About the architectural appearance of the ancient capital is reminded mainly of only the historical center, in which the old sights survived. In the former neo-Confucian college, miraculously preserved from the time of the state of Kore (the building was repeatedly restored as it was seriously damaged by destruction), there is the Museum of Kore, which has a valuable collection of ancient pottery and Buddhist relics. Confuciane ceremonial ceremonies are held periodically in the museum building.
Pyongyang City (Pyongyang)
Pyongyang - the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the administrative center of the province of Phenan Namdo. The city is located on the banks of the river Tedongan. The river is decorated with two cascades of fountains, spewing water to a height of about 150 m. These are the highest fountains in the world.
In the capital there are a large number of museums and monuments of Kim Il Sung. At the place where Kim Il Sung made a speech about the rallying and independence of the nation after the defeat of the Japanese occupation forces in 1945, the Triumphal Arch was erected, it is 3 m higher than Paris. Pyongyang Metro is very beautiful, the stations of which are decorated with bronze sculptures, crystal chandeliers and marble columns. Numerous tombs of the Kogure period are preserved in the vicinity of Pyongyang.
Due to the almost complete isolation of the country from the rest of the world, tourism in Pyongyang is poorly developed. Most tourists come from China. To obtain a visa to the DPRK, an application must be submitted at the official diplomatic or tourist representative office of the DPRK no earlier than 20 days before departure. In special cases, a visa can be obtained at a transitional point on the border with the DPRK. In general, anyone can get a tourist visa, except for journalists, residents of the United States and South Korea.
It is forbidden to import literature on North and South Korea (except for the one published in the DPRK), pornography, mobile phones, and propaganda literature into North Korea. It is forbidden to photograph military objects, as well as visit most of the sights in informal clothes.
The government controls the movement of tourists around the city, developing special itineraries and sightseeing programs.
During the Korean War (1950–1953), the city was severely damaged and was subsequently almost completely rebuilt. The new layout included wider streets, a large number of monuments and monumental buildings.
The tallest building in the city is the unfinished hotel Rugön, 330 m high. This hotel has 105 floors and a total area of 360 thousand square meters. However, in the 90s of the 20th century, construction was frozen, and the hotel is currently not functioning.
On April 15, 1961, on the occasion of the 49th anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the Chollima Monument (corp. Thousand Is Per Hour) was unveiled, according to the sculptors' idea, symbolizing the people’s will for the landmark achievements in the construction of socialism, the movement prosperity of their homeland. The height of the monument is 46 meters, the height of the sculpture itself is 14 meters. The horse was saddled by a worker holding the “Red Letter” in his hands from the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, and a peasant woman. The horse's front hooves are directed into the sky, and the rear hind as if repelling from the clouds.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Kim Il Sung in April 1982, the Triumphal Arch was opened. Gate height - 60 meters, width 52.5 meters. The height of the arch - 27 meters, width - 18.6 meters. The words “Song about commander Kim Il Sung” and dates “1925” and “1945” are inscribed on the gates, indicating the year of Kim Il Sung’s entry into the path of rebirth of the Motherland and the year of his “triumphant return to the Motherland” after her release from the Japanese August 1945).
Also to the 70th anniversary of Kim Il Sung on the banks of the Tedongan River, the Juche Idea Monument (170 meters high) was opened. On the front and back of the monument are gold letters, folded into the word "Juche". At the top of the pillar is a 20-meter-high torch, which symbolizes the "great and unfading triumph of the Juche idea". At night, fire is simulated with the help of a backlight. In front of the pillar is a 30-meter sculptural group: a worker with a hammer, a peasant woman with a sickle and an intellectual with a brush. Crossed hammer, sickle and brush are the emblem of the Labor Party of Korea. On the back side of the pedestal in the niche there is a wall, assembled from more than two hundred marble and granite slabs, sent by the heads of many countries of the world and famous political figures.
One of the most famous places in Pyongyang is the Kim Il Sung Square. It hosts parades of the Korean People’s Army, demonstrations, mass gymnastics and dance performances on public holidays.
In the very center of Pyongyang, on the Mansu hill (where the Pyongyang fortress used to be), there is a monumental sculptural ensemble, known primarily for the huge (about 70 meters in height) Kim Il Sung sculpture. Opened in April 1972 on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. It is curious that standing Kim Il Sung points with his hand “in the bright tomorrow”, to the south, towards Seoul. Behind the bronze statue is the Museum of the Korean Revolution, opened in the same year, on the wall of which is a huge mosaic panel of Mount Pectusan. Its length is 70 meters, height - about 13. The panel symbolizes the revolutionary traditions, since on Mount Paektu, located on the border with China, according to legends, there was the Command Headquarters, where Kim Il Sung lived and worked during the anti-Japanese struggle.
Other famous architectural landmarks of Pyongyang are the monument in honor of the founding of the Korean Workers Party, the Liberation Monument, built after World War II, and two stadiums that are among the largest in the world - the Kim Il Sung Stadium - 70,000 spectators 48 in the world and "May Day Stadium" - which is the largest in the world, with a capacity of 150,000 spectators.
According to legend, Pyongyang was founded in 2334 BC under the name of Wangomson. It was the capital of the ancient Korean state Kochoson. However, this date is controversial and is not recognized by many historians who believe that the city was founded at the beginning of our era.
In 108 BC. e. Han dynasty conquered Kochoson, founding several military districts in its place. The capital of one of them, Lolan County, was founded near modern Pyongyang. Lolan was one of the dominant forces in the region until it was conquered in 313 by the gaining power of the Goguryou state.
In 427, van Kogureyo transferred the capital of the state to Pyongyang. In 668, the Korean state of Silla, in alliance with the Chinese dynasty, Tang conquered Goguryou. The city became part of Silla, remaining on the border with the northern neighbor - Parkhe. Silla was replaced by the Goryeo dynasty. During this period, Pyongyang strengthened its influence and was renamed Sogon, although in fact, Koryo Pyongyang was never the capital. In the era of the Chosun dynasty, it was the capital of the province of Pyongando, and from 1896 until the end of the Japanese occupation it was the capital of the province of Pyongan-Namdo.
In 1945, the period of Japanese occupation was over and Pyongyang fell into the zone of influence of the Soviet Union, becoming the temporary capital of the DPRK state formed in the north of the Korean Peninsula (Seoul, temporarily separated from the country, was then considered the permanent capital). During the Korean War, was seriously injured as a result of aerial bombardment, from October to December 1950, was occupied by UN troops. After the war, with the help of the Soviet Union, the city was quickly restored.
Throughout its history, Pyongyang has changed many names. One of them was Ryugyon (류경; 柳 京) or the "willow capital", since at that time many willows grew throughout the city, which was reflected in Korean medieval literature. Currently, the city also grows many willow trees, and the word Ryugyon is often found on the map of the city (see Hotel Ryugen). Other names of the city in different periods were Kison, Khvanson, Rannan, Sogyon, Sodo, Hogyon, Chanan. During the Japanese occupation, the city was known as Heizo (Japanese pronunciation of Chinese characters П 壌 in Pyongyang’s name, written with the help of hanchu).
Located on the banks of the river Tedongan (Tedon) near its confluence with the Yellow Sea. Forms a separate administrative unit with the status of the province. Another river that flows through the city is the Pothongan.
The climate is monsoon with a sharp manifestation of different seasons and a clear distinction between the seasons of drought and rain. Although Korea is located in low latitudes and is surrounded on three sides by sea basins, its climate is more severe than in a number of countries located in the same latitude. In winter, powerful streams of cold, dry air from the interior of the continent bring dry, clear weather and cold to the Korean peninsula. In summer, the country's territory is under the influence of oceanic air masses, bringing abundant atmospheric moisture. During the three summer months, 50-60% of annual precipitation falls. The average annual temperature is + 7.6C. The average temperature of the coldest month (January) is about −11C, the hottest (August) is about + 23C. During the year, an average of 925 millimeters of precipitation falls (most during the summer period).
Along with the country's special regions (Sinuiju and Kesong), Pyongyang is the economic center of North Korea.
There is a Pyongyang Metro with two lines, with a total length of 22.5 km. The Pyongyang metro was commissioned on September 5, 1973. The stations are spacious, the columns are decorated with marble, there are large mosaic paintings, murals, relief images showing life and nature in Korea on the walls. Currently there are two lines and sixteen stations. Subway deep foundation. Subway cars are mainly German-made. A feature of the Pyongyang Metro is the lighting of escalator mines not by chandeliers or vertical lamps, but by the luminous walls of an escalator. At the end of each car are portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Also in the city there is a trolleybus and tram transport.The trolleybus movement was opened on April 30, 1962. The tram movement opened after almost three decades, April 12, 1991, which is a rare case in world practice.
The number of private cars is small compared to most world capitals, although officials use a large fleet of Mercedes-Benz limousines.
There is a state-owned airline, Air Koryo, which operates flights from Sunan Airport to Beijing (PEK), Shenyang (SHE), Bangkok (BKK) and Vladivostok (VVO). There are also irregular charter flights to Macau (MFM), Incheon (ICN), Yangyang (YNY) and some Japanese cities. Air Koryo also serves several domestic flights.
International rail links operate between Pyongyang and the capitals of China and Russia. The road to Beijing takes 25 hours and 25 minutes (K27 train from Beijing / K28 from Pyongyang on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays); the road to Moscow takes 7 days.
Pyongyang is the cultural capital of North Korea. Here are all the leading places of culture of the country, hence the cultural exchange with other countries. In particular, in November 2005, in Pyongyang, representatives of the North Korean government and the Russian embassy signed the "Plan for cultural and scientific exchange for 2005-2007 between the governments of the DPRK and the Russian Federation." There is an active propaganda of national culture and art among the population. A scientific research institute of Korean national music and choreography (NIKIMH) was established, which is located in the Pyongyang International House of Culture.
The city has several cultural institutions. Among them are:
- The Moranbone Theater is the first theater built in the country after World War II. In December 2004, under the personal instructions of Kim Jong Il, the reconstruction of the theater began, which ended in 2005.
- Pyongyang Cultural and Exhibition Complex - was opened in 1998. There are exhibitions of artists and photographers, as well as new books, ranging from ancient Buddhist texts and ending with the works of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Also in this complex are the expositions of Korean applied art - pottery, embroidery, mosaic, etc.
- Korea State Symphony Orchestra - was established in August 1946. The repertoire includes mainly national works (patriotic and glorifying the leaders of the country) and classics from Russian opera and ballet. In total, the program of the orchestra includes more than 140 pieces of music.
- Mansude Art Theater
- House of Culture "April 25"
- Pyongyang Bolshoi Theater
- East Pyeongyang Bolshoi Theater
- Central Youth House
- Art Theater Ponhwa
- Pyongyang Circus
- Circus People's Army
- Folk Palace of Culture
- Pyongyang International House of Culture
- Pyongyang International Cinema
- Museum of the Korean Revolution
- Victory Museum in the Patriotic War of Liberation
- Exhibition of the achievements of three revolutions
- Pavilion of flowers Kimirsenkhva and Kimchenirhva
- Korean art gallery
- Korea Central Historical Museum
- Ethnographic Museum of Korea
Hotel Ryugen - a hotel in the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, occupying the tallest skyscraper. The hotel is named after the old name of Pyongyang - "Ryugyon", which in Korean means "Willow capital". It is located in a futuristic building of 105 floors, which rises to a height of 330 m. The internal areas of the skyscraper are 360 thousand m².
The idea to build in the capital of the DPRK the highest hotel in the world originated during the Cold War. To attract investors, the government promised to open casinos, lounges and nightclubs at the Ryugen Hotel. The building was still under construction, and its image could already be seen on postage stamps, geographical maps and tourist guides.
The construction of a giant skyscraper began in 1987 and was supposed to last until 1989. Three thousand rooms and 7 restaurants were planned to open to the World Festival of Youth and Students. However, resources were not enough, and in 1992 the construction of the Ryugen Hotel was frozen. In 2008, by decision of the country's government, construction work on the skyscraper continued. The protracted construction was completed in 2016. According to the Korean leadership, the hotel is now fully prepared, but not commissioned.
Hotel Ryugen consists of three huge wings that converge at the top of a tall building. Each of the wings retreats from the center of the skyscraper at 100 m and has a width of 18 m. The architectural concept of the hotel has been repeatedly criticized in different countries of the world. North Korea’s tallest building is called the “ugliest” and “shard of science fiction in the modern world,” and it regularly falls into architectural anti-ratings.
How to get there
The Ryugyon Hotel rises in the center of Pyongyang and is noticeable from everywhere. Near the skyscraper is the exit from the metro station "Consol".
Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung (Kymsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun)
Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung - The tomb in Pyongyang, in which are the embalmed bodies of two former North Korean leaders - Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il. The Koreans themselves describe the representative building of the mausoleum as the Kymsuansky Sun Memorial Palace. Opposite him lies the revolutionaries' cemetery, where the closest relatives of the Korean leaders are buried.
When Kim Il Sung was alive, he used the palace as one of his residences. After the death of the Korean leader in 1994, his son and political successor ordered to convert the building into a pantheon of memory. The embalmed body of Kim Il Sung was placed in an open sarcophagus. After 17 years, Kim Jong Il was buried in the same building.
For the North Koreans, a trip to the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung is a sacred ceremony. They visit the tomb in groups - school classes, brigades and military units. At the entrance, everyone passes through a scrupulous inspection, handing over smartphones, cameras and even sunglasses. From the entrance, visitors move along a horizontal escalator along a long corridor, the walls of which are hung with photographs of North Korean leaders.
One part of the pantheon is dedicated to Kim Il Sung, and the other to his son. The bodies are located in the tall, empty semi-dark marble halls, decorated with gold. Four people are allowed to go to the sarcophagi with a guide. Visitors make a circle and bow. After that, they are led into the halls with awards and personal belongings of the leaders. In addition, tourists are shown cars and railway cars in which North Korean leaders moved throughout the country. Separately located Hall of Tears, where the farewell ceremony.
In front of the squat gray building of the Kim Il Sung Mausoleum there is a spacious square with flower beds and a park. Here everyone can take a memorable photo on the background of the pantheon. For this purpose, special steps are installed on the square, a photographer works.
Visiting the mausoleum by foreign tourists
Foreigners are allowed to enter the Kim Il Sung's mausoleum only during an organized tourist trip, twice a week - on Thursday and Sunday. Visitors are asked to take care of the faded dim clothes. It is forbidden to talk loudly inside the building, and you cannot take photos not only inside the pantheon, but also on the square next to it.
How to get there
Kim Il Sung Mausoleum is located in the northeastern part of Pyongyang, near the Qingmen subway station. Travelers come here on sightseeing buses accompanied by a North Korean guide.
City Rason (Rason)
Rason - a city of direct subordination in the DPRK, bordering the Chinese province of Jilin and the Primorsky Territory in Russia. The region separated from the province of Hamgön Pukk вo in 1993, receiving the name "Rajin-Sonbon", which in 2000 was reduced to "Rason". In South Korea, Nason pronunciation is accepted.
There are regular reports in the media about preparations for the restoration of the railway line between Rason and the Russian village of Hassan, which was destroyed in the 50s. It is mentioned that the trade turnover between Russia and North Korea in this case may also increase due to the fact that the authorities agreed to open the port of Rason for foreign ships.
Sea of JapanAttraction applies to countries: Japan, Russia, Korea, North Korea (DPRK)
Japanese Sea - the sea is part of the Pacific Ocean, separated from it by the Japanese Islands and Sakhalin Island. It washes the shores of Russia, Korea and Japan, the DPRK. In Korea, the Sea of Japan is called the "East Sea." In the south, the branch of the warm current Kura-Sivo enters.
Area 1,062 million km ². The greatest depth is 3742 m. The northern part of the sea freezes in winter.
Fishing; extraction of crabs, sea cucumbers, seaweed.
The main ports are Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Vostochny, Sovetskaya Gavan, Vanino, Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalin, Kholmsk, Niigata, Tsuruga, Maizuru, Wonsan, Khinnam, Chongjin.