Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel is arguably one of the world’s most interesting, if not curious, hotels. Found in Pyongyang, it rises to a height of 1,080 feet, making it the tallest structure in all of North Korea. Also interesting is the hotel’s design and construction history. It is shaped like a pyramid, and while construction began in 1987, the hotel has yet to be completed.

Ryugyong Hotel Construction

Ryugyong Hotel Construction
Ryugyong Hotel Construction  Image: John Pavelka (flickr)

As noted, the construction process of the Ryugyong Hotel began in 1987. According to the original plan, the hotel was scheduled to open in June 1989. The aim was to have it completed in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, which was held in Pyongyang in July 1989. Had this been achieved, the Ryugyong Hotel would have been the world’s tallest hotel. Interesting to note is that the unfinished version of the Ryugyong Hotel was not surpassed in height by any new hotel until the Rose Tower in Dubai was completed in 2009. Problems with building methods and materials were largely responsible for the Ryugyong Hotel construction halts in 1989. After it recommenced, work was again halted in 1992. This was largely in response to the food and electricity shortages that plagued North Korea after the Soviet collapse. It wasn’t until April 2008 that work on the Ryugyong Hotel was restarted, and in July 2011, it was reported that all of the exterior work had been completed. That left only the interior to be finished.

Ryungyong Hotel Interior

In September 2012, the first photographs showing the interior of the Ryungyong Hotel were released. Notable in these photos were the lack of fixtures and furnishings and the predominance of mostly barren concrete. Nobody is quite sure when the supposed 3,000-room hotel will truly be finished and open for business. It’s all a bit bizarre and only adds to the mystery that the Ryungyong Hotel has become.

Top image: Joseph Ferris III (wikipedia)

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