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—  Directly Governed City  —
P'yŏngyang Directly Governed City
 - Chosŏn'gŭl 평양 직할시
 - Hancha 直轄市
From top left: P'yŏngyang's Skyline, Juche Tower, Kumsusan Memorial Palace, Arch of Triumph, Arch of Reunification, Tomb of King Dongmyeong, & Sunan International Airport
Nickname(s): Ryugyŏng (류경/柳京)  (Korean)
" City of Willows "
Map of North Korea with P'yŏngyang highlighted
Country  North Korea
Region P'yŏngan
Founded 1122 B.C.
 - Total 3,194 km2 (1,233.2 sq mi)
Elevation 27 m (89 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 3,255,388
 - Dialect P'yŏngan

Pyongyang (Korean pronunciation: [pçɔɲaŋ], literally: "Flat Land") is the capital of North Korea, located on the Taedong River. According to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, it has a population of 3,255,388.[1]

The city was split from the South P'yŏngan province in 1946. It is administered as a directly-governed city (chikhalsi), on the same level as provincial governments, not a special city (teukbyeolsi) as Seoul is in South Korea.



A large ancient village in the P'yŏngyang area called Kŭmtan-ni was excavated in 1955 by archaeologists who found prehistoric occupation from the Chŭlmun and Mumun pottery periods.[2]

North Koreans associate Pyongyang with "Asadal" (아사달; 신시), or Wanggŏmsŏng (왕검성; 王儉城), the first capital of Gojoseon according to Korean history books, notably Samguk Yusa. Many South Korean historians dispute this association because other Korean history books place Asadal around the Liao He located in western Manchuria. Nonetheless, Pyongyang became a major city under Gojoseon.

No relic from the era of Western Han has been found around Pyongyang. It is likely that the area of Pyongyang ceded from disintegrating Gojoseon and belonged to another Korean kingdom by the time of the fall of Wiman Joseon, the longest lasting part of Gojoseon, by Han Dynasty China in 108 BC. Relics from Eastern Han (25-220) periods from the Pyongyang area seems to suggest China subsequently made successful military advances into the Korean peninsula including the area of Pyongyang.

The area around Pyongyang was called Nanglang-state during the Eastern Han periods. As the capital of Nanglang-guk (낙랑국; 낙랑),[3] Pyongyang remained an important commercial and cultural outpost until Lelang was destroyed by the expanding Goguryeo in 313.

Goguryeo moved its capital here in 427; according to Christopher Beckwith, Pyongyang is the Sino-Korean reading of the name they gave it in their language, Piarna 'level land.'[4] Tang Dynasty China and Silla allied and defeated Goguryeo in 668.

In 676, it was taken by Silla but left in the border between Silla and Balhae until the Goryeo dynasty, when the city was revived as Sŏgyŏng (서경; 西京; "Western Capital") although never actually a capital of Goryeo. It was the provincial capital of the P'yŏngan Province during the Joseon dynasty, becoming provincial capital of South P'yŏngan Province from 1896 and through the period of Japanese rule.

In 1945, Japanese rule ended and it was occupied by Soviet forces, and became the temporary capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at its establishment in 1948 while it aimed to recapture its official capital at that time of Seoul. It was severely damaged in the Korean War, during which it was briefly occupied by South Korean forces—the only time in history that a communist capital fell to enemy forces. After the war, the city was quickly rebuilt with Soviet help, with many buildings built in Socialist Classicism.

Satellite view of P'yŏngyang.

Historic names

One of its many historic names is Ryugyŏng (류경; 柳京), or "capital of willows", as willow trees have always been numerous throughout the city's history, and many poems have been written about these willows. Even today, Pyongyang has numerous willow trees planted everywhere, and many buildings and places have "Ryugyŏng" in their names, the most notable of all being its uncompleted Ryugyŏng Hotel. Its other historic names include Kisŏng, Hwangsŏng, Rakrang, Sŏgyŏng, Sŏdo, Hogyŏng, Changan, etc. During the Japanese rule, and in the Japanese language, it was also known as Heijō, which is simply the Japanese reading of the Chinese characters 平壌 the name Pyongyang consists of.


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: WMO

Pyongyang is located in west-central North Korea, the city lies on flat plains about 30 miles (48 km) east of Korea Bay, an arm of the Yellow Sea. The Taedong River flows westward through the city towards Korea bay.


The climate of Pyongyang is a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwa). In Winter cold winds can blow from Siberia making Conditions in winter very cold; the temperature is usually below freezing between November and early March. The winter is generally much drier than summer with snow falling thirty-seven days on average. The most unpleasant feature of the weather and climate is undoubtedly the extreme cold and frequent wind chill in winter; warm clothing is necessary at this time.[5]

The transition from the cold, dry winter to the warm, wet summer occurs rather quickly between April and early May, and there is a similar rather abrupt return to winter conditions in late October. Summers are generally hot and humid, with East Asian monsoon taking place from June until August with these being also the hottest months having an average temperature of 20°C to 29°C (72 °F to 86 °F) with higher temperatures possible.

Climate data for Pyongyang
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) -0.8
Average low °C (°F) -10.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 12.2
Avg. precipitation days 5.2 4.2 5.1 6.7 8.1 8.7 14.4 11.0 7.2 6.1 7.3 5.9 89.9
Source: World Meteorological Organisation [6] February 2010

Administrative divisions

A 1946 map of Pyongyang.

P'yŏngyang is divided into 19 wards (ku- or guyŏk) (the city proper) and 4 counties (kun or gun).[7]



The capital has been completely redesigned since the Korean War (1950–1953). It is designed with wide avenues, imposing monuments, and monolithic buildings. The tallest structure in the city is the uncompleted 330-metre (1,083 ft) Ryugyŏng Hotel. This hotel has 105 floors, encloses 361,000 square metres (3,885,772 sq ft) of floor space, and was planned to be topped by seven revolving restaurants.

Some notable landmarks in the city include the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the Arch of Triumph (heavily inspired by Paris's Arc de Triomphe but of a larger size), the reputed birthplace of Kim Il-sung at Mangyongdae Hill, Juche Tower, and two of the world's largest stadiums (Kim Il Sung Stadium and Rungrado May Day Stadium). Pyongyang TV Tower is a minor landmark. Other visitor attractions include the Korea Central Zoo and the large golden statues of North Korea's two leaders. The Arch of Reunification has a map of a united Korea supported by two concrete Korean women dressed in traditional dress straddling the multi-laned Reunification Highway that stretches from Pyongyang to the DMZ.


Pyongyang naengmyeon, cold buckwheat noodle soup originating in Pyeongyang.

Pyongyang was the provincial capital of Pyongan province until 1946.[8] Therefore, Pyongyang cuisine shares with the general culinary tradition of Pyongan province. The most famous local food is Pyongyang naengmyeon, or also called mul naengmyeon or just simply naengmyeon. Naengmyeon literally means "cold noodles", while the affix, mul, refers to "water" because the dish is served in a cold soup. Naengmyeon consists of thin and chewy buckwheat noodles in the cold broth mixed with a meat broth, and dongchimi (watery kimchi) and topped with a slice of sweet Korean pear. Pyongyang naengmyeon was originally eaten at home built with ondol (traditional underfloor heating) during the cold winter, so is also humorously called "Pyongyang deoldeori" (shivering in Pyongyang). Pyongyang locals sometimes enjoyed it as a haejangguk which is any type of food eaten as a hangover cure while commonly a warm soup in form.[9]

Another representative Pyongyang dish is Taedonggang sungeoguk, meaning "trout soup from the Taedong River". The soup is made with trout, which are abundant in the Taedong River, along with black peppercorns and salt.[10] It is served as a courtesy for important guests visiting Pyongyang. Therefore, the question, "How good was the taste of the trout soup?" is commonly used to greet people returning from Pyongyang. In addition, Pyongyang onban (literally "warm rice of Pyongyang") is a local specialty. It is a rice dish made with freshly cooked rice topped with sliced mushrooms and chicken, and a couple of bindaetteok (pancakes made from ground mung beans and vegetables).[9]


Metro and rail

Pyongyang metro system.
Pyongyang Tram car - Be 4/4

The Pyongyang Metro is a two-line underground metro system which has a length of 22.5 kilometers (14 mi). The Hyoksin line serves Kwangbok, Konguk, Hwanggumbol, Konsol, Hyoksin, Jonu, Jonsung, Samhung and Rakwon station. The Chollima line serves Puhung, Yonggwang, Ponghwa, Sungni, Tongil, Kaeson, Jonu and Pulgunbyol station. There is also a 53 km (33 mi) long Pyongyang Tram and 150 km (93 mi) trolleybus service, but tourists have heard that few locals use them due to the high and frequent hazard of electrocution.[11] The trolley bus-stops are fairly full. The incidence of use of the underground is difficult to gauge as tourists are only permitted to travel between two designated stops with a guide. It has been thought that on these pre-arranged occasions, the fellow passengers are selected to be there at the same time. The underground map is extensive but, again, just how many of the stations are operational at any one time is unknown.


There are not as many private automobiles as in Western cities, although the state government operates a sizeable fleet of Mercedes-Benz limousines for Party bureaucrats.

Air transportation

State-owned Air Koryo has scheduled flights from Sunan Capital International Airport to Beijing (PEK), Shenyang (SHE), Vladivostok (VVO), Macau (MFM), Bangkok (BKK), Khabarovsk (KHV) and Shenzhen (SZX). There are occasional chartered flights to Incheon (ICN), Yangyang County (YNY) and several Japanese cities. Air Koryo also claims scheduled service on a few domestic routes, although the accuracy of this is not known. The only domestic routes are Hamhung, Wonsan, Chongjin, Hyesan and Samjiyon. Intermittent service to Pyongyang is also provided by a few foreign carriers, most notably Chinese. In April 2008, Air China launched regular service between Beijing and Pyongyang.

Intercity trains

The city also has regular international train services to Beijing and Moscow. A journey to Beijing takes about 25 hours and 25 minutes (K27 from Beijing / K28 from Pyŏngyang, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays); a journey to Moscow takes 6 days.

The city also connects to the Eurasian Land Bridge via the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Sister Cities

People from Pyongyang


  1. ^ United Nations Statistics Division; Preliminary results of the 2008 Census of Population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted on 1–15 October 2008 (pdf-file) Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
  2. ^ National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. 2001. Geumtan-ri. Hanguk Gogohak Sajeon [Dictionary of Korean Archaeology], pp. 148–149. NRICH, Seoul. ISBN 89-5508-025-5
  3. ^ Nanglang-state is different from Lelang Commandery. Nanglang-state is a vassal state of China that ruled over Korean people around the Pyongyang area between a successful military campaign of Eastern Han. Lelang Commandery was one of the four commanderies that Western Han instituted in the occupied territory of Wiman Joseon around the Liao river in western Manchuria in 108 BC.
  4. ^ Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2009: ISBN 978-0-691-13589-2), p. 104.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "World Weather Information Service - Pyongyang". 
  7. ^ "행정구역현황 (Haengjeong Guyeok Hyeonhwang)". NK Chosun. Retrieved 2006-01-10.  Also Administrative divisions of North Korea (used as reference for hanja)
  8. ^ "평양시 平壤市 [Pyongyang]" (in Korean). Nate/Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. 
  9. ^ a b "닮은 듯 색다른 매력을 간직한 북한의 음식 문화" (in Korean). Korea Knowledge Portal. 2009-06-19. 
  10. ^ Ju, Wan-jung (주완중) (2000-06-12). "'오마니의 맛' 관심 [Attention to "Mother's taste"]" (in Korean). The Chosun Ilbo. 
  11. ^ "殺入北韓 (Translation: Entering North Korea) (NOTE: Subscription required)" (in Traditional Chinese). 壹週刊 (Next Magazine). 19 October 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  12. ^ "International relations". Kathmandu City website. Retrieved 2006-01-10. 

See also

External links

Further reading

  • Chris Springer, Pyongyang: The Hidden History of the North Korean Capital. Saranda Books, 2003. ISBN 963-00-8104-0.
  • Robert Willoughby, North Korea: The Bradt Travel Guide. Globe Pequot, 2003. ISBN 1-84162-074-2.


  • Christian Kracht, Eva Munz, Lukas Nikol, "The Ministry Of Truth. Kim Jong Ils North Korea", Feral House, Oct 2007, 132 pages, 88 color photographs, ISBN 978-932595-27-7

Coordinates: 39°01′55″N 125°45′14″E / 39.031859°N 125.753765°E / 39.031859; 125.753765

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Pyongan : Pyongyang
Downtown Pyongyang with the Ryugyong Hotel
Downtown Pyongyang with the Ryugyong Hotel

P'yŏngyang' (평양 Pyeongyang), with about 2,750,000 inhabitants, is the capital city of North Korea. It is situated on the Taedong River in the northwest of the country.

Get in

Nearly all visitors arrive either by plane or train.

Sunan International Airport (IATA: FNJ) is 24 km north of Pyongyang and, as of 2009, has scheduled services to Beijing and Shenyang. There is a (supposedly) weekly flight to Vladivostok, but in fact it's hardly more than a glorified charter, as it goes only if there's enough passengers to fill the elderly Tu-134.

The Air China Beijing flights depart/arrive on Monday and Friday afternoons, with an additional service on Wednesday afternoons in summer (from April 1st). Note that Pyongyang airport does not have ILS, so if the weather is bad, flights are sometimes cancelled, or even turned back. Air Koryo usually never has problems landing in their home base, so if you need to be sure to arrive, better take Air Koryo.

If you are in a position to be able to, the tickets to Bejing are almost half price from Pyongyang. They are on sale in the Youth Hotel, in the Air China office, which is situated about 10km north-east of the city. Furthermore, they give a 30kg baggage allowance for free.

Trains from China arrive at Pyongyang's main central train station. Foreigners have to exit via the side door at the far end of the station from the gates. Don't join the scrum with the Koreans, as you won't be allowed to leave via the same door. If you have transported anything via freight on the train, you'll have to go back the next day to pick it up. The customs office is around the back of the building, and is shut from 12 to 2PM. At other times, it's not very busy. At all. There are no charges for collecting customs-cleared goods, and the bureaucracy is fairly simple, especially after the chaos at Beijing railway station.

Get around

Visitors to North Korea will need to be accompanied by an accredited guide or guides, who will arrange where you can visit.

This is true of package tourists (the only way tourists can get in). However, personal visitors of foreign residents in Pyongyang are free to go around by themselves, unless explicitly told not to by Korean authorities. This can happen, but is not always the case.

Residents are usually free to wander around. However, they cannot use buses. The subway system CAN be used, despite rumours to the contrary. There are two routes, and all the stations are open to foreigners. Despite being old, the trains run quite efficiently, and are phenomenally cheap (5 won a ride, any distance- there are roughly 5000 won to a euro on the black market). The biggest drawback to this form of transport is that the subway is only on the west side of the river, while Munsu dong, where all foreign residents live, is on the east side.

Taxis can be taken, but Koreans usually are very nervous about accepting foreigners. One exception might be the Koryo hotel, situated near the railway station. Expect the driver to check with the hotel that he is allowed to take you first. Around €5 will cover a medium distance one way ride.

The Juche Tower
The Juche Tower
  • The 20 meter high bronze statue of Kim Il-Sung at Mansudae. This behemothal self-tribute, erected by the Leader himself, will most likely be the first thing you visit. Surreal as it may seem, be aware that the locals expect visitors to this place to take it all very seriously and show respect to the monument. Your tour group will most likely have to lay flowers by the statue's feet, available on-site for €3-10.
  • The Pyongyang Metro. This is the deepest metro system in the world at over 110 metres. There are large socialist realist murals in the platforms of the stations, with each station designed to embody a different ideal. Most tourists only see Puhung and Yonggwang stations on the Chollima Line.
  • The Juche Tower. A 170-meter tall monument is dedicated to the Juche philosophy of Kim Il Sung. Don't miss the trip to the top, which costs €10 and offers a great view of the city (though, if you're staying at the Yanggakdo, the view from a top floor is similar and free!).
  • The Children's Palace. Nearly every city has its own Children's Palace, with Pyongyang having the largest. After classes in the morning, selected (gifted) students spend the afternoon at the palatial Children's Palace to practice their art or other special skills. Children choose their area of specialization in cooperation with teachers once they're old enough to attend (around 11) and continue with that one skill every day until they graduate school or they complete the area of study (i.e. driving). Areas include: ballet, rhythmic dance, gymnastics, computer programming, singing, musical instruments, chess, volleyball, basketball, embroidery, and calligraphy.
  • The Ryugyong Hotel. This 105-story building dominates the Pyongyang skyline with its 330 meters of height. Construction started in 1987, but when the money ran out in 1992 it came to a halt. Construction by Egypt's Orascom Group resumed again in April 2008. In September 2008, a senior North Korean official said the refurbishing of the Ryugyong Hotel will be done by 2012 - the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung. At the same time, an Orascom company official said the goal of the project was to at least give the structure's facade a facelift and make it more attractive. So if the building is ever to be fully completed is yet to be known.
  • The USS Pueblo, the captured American vessel.
  • The stamp shop next to the Koryo Hotel on Changwang St sells a huge variety of DPRK postage stamps, with designs ranging from Olympic sports to Korean food to DPRK history. This is the best place to buy souvenirs, as stamps are easy to transport and it's easy to find a set of stamps for almost anyone. You can also buy postcards and postcard stamps (200 won) here.
  • Arirang Mass Games, the Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance. This is performed in the fall of some years. Was held in August-October 2008, and is expected again in August 2009. With over 100,000 performers this is, by the numbers, the greatest show on Earth.
  • The Arch of Triumph The arch was designed to commemorate Korean resistance to Japan between 1925 and 1945 and eventual liberation from Japanese rule.The arch modeled on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. However at 60m high and 50m wide it is the biggest arch in the world.
  • Korean War Museum also known as the Victorious Fatherland Liberation Museum The basement of the museum has a number of captured U.S. planes, tanks, and weaponry.


Guided tours of sites in and around Pyongyang are the only way to do things. It is very rare to be allowed to wander.

One caveat is regarding personal visitors to foreign residents of Pyongyang. They are usually free to wander around, although the Koreans prefer to 'help' in these situations.

Above all, be very careful about photography. Monuments and palaces are fine, but Koreans hate having their photographs taken, unless you get permission first. If you come across a street market, it is likely that everyone will run away (including the sellers), as their existence is a tacit admission of the failure of their form of socialism. This is not, however, always the case. The Koreans will, however, get very nervous, so a lot of smiling is a good idea. You should absolutely NOT take obvious photos in these situations. You are likely to be arrested, and possibly deported. An innocent photo of a market to Westerners is a very serious situation to them at a political level. Not only does it show the shortcomings of socialism, but a picture of abundance in a market will, they worry, lead to the withdrawal of international food aid.

There are many places to go shooting, usually with air guns. The Koreans love to see foreigners try their hand at this, as sometimes (unbeknown to the foreigner) they are shooting at images of Americans.

More (or less, depending on how you see it) cruelly, you can target live chickens instead. At a couple of euros, this can be a good investment for carnivore rifle-istas, as if you kill the chicken you get to keep it.

Foreigners are allowed to use the main public swimming pool on Saturday mornings, as they are the ice skating rink in winter. Be aware, that if you have an accident, the Koreans will not help you, probably through fear of dealing with a foreigner. It has been known for foreigners to break their legs ice skating, and waiting for hours on the ice while other expatriates try to help (if they are even around)!


Shopping options are limited. A few department stores exist but have very few things of interest. Locals only shop from specialty stores selling groceries and other basic items. Arts and crafts and souvenirs can be purchased in places such as tourist sites and hotels.

There are several government-run markets, selling a wide range of foods, as well as consumer goods such as shoes and diy materials. The prices are extremely low by western standards, and the sellers are extremely honest- red-coated officials watch their every move, especially when selling to a foreigner! These markets are identifiable by their blue, semispherical roofs. However, apart from Tonghil market, foreigners are treated with, at best, mild suspicion. Indeed, do not be surprised if you are gently, but firmly, escorted from the building. There is no harm in this, providing you comply.

Tonghil market is perhaps the most interesting, as there are many relatively wealthy Koreans shopping there. Koreans are issued State provisions, which vary according to their job/status. Anything else they are free to buy- either at official won exchange rates (about 1/30th of the black market price), again, depending on their status, or at the free market price, which usually means they can afford almost nothing. The average wage is around €2 a month, which results in most people's total dependance upon the State.

You need won to shop at these markets, and do not take photos! In Tonghil, be aware that some theft does occur, although it is minimal.


There are hardly any regular restaurants where the average North Koreans go. Eating out is a pleasure reserved for foreigners and special people. You will normally eat dinner at your hotel.

Often, when you see Koreans in a group in a restaurant, it is because their work unit, or the Party, has sent them (and is paying). These groups are easily identifiable as such: Koreans hardly ever eat meat, so, if they go out on one of these trips, they have a meat-fest and get as drunk as possible on Soju (rice wine)! The smaller groups who regularly go out to restaurants eat and drink in a much more moderate way.

  • Pyolmuri, Changkwang Street, [1]. North Korea's first Italian restaurant, offering pasta and pizza. Mains €1.50-2.50.
  • Dangogo Gukjib, Tongil Street, is the most famous place for those who have decided to try the Korean specialty of eating dog. €30 is all it takes.


There are very few bars and clubs, though North Korean beer is available at hotels. Some may also offer Chinese and other foreign beers. The local draught beer is excellent, costing from €0.50 to €1.40, but the bottled beer can give bad hangovers.

There are three main places, apart from restaurants and hotels, where foreign residents go to socialise; the old Diplomatic club, near the Juche tower by the river, the Friendship, inside the Munsu dong foreigners' compound, and the Random Access Club (RAC), run by the UN, also inside the foreigners' compound.

Providing transport (difficult) and permission (less difficult) is obtainable, all of these can be visited. Then RAC Friday nights are legendary (not in an "Ibiza" way, though), although what passed for nightlife has dwindled as foreign aid organisations have left the country during 2009.


This will be arranged by your tour company.

  • Heabangsan Hotel*, Sungri Street, Central district, +850 2 37037. A five-storey building which is the cheapest option in Pyongyang. It has 83 rooms, but you cannot be certain that you as a foreigner will be allowed to stay here.
  • Pyongyang Hotel, Sungri Street, Central district (near Pyongyang Grand Theatre), +850 2 38161. Class 2 hotel with 170 rooms, open since 1961.
  • Taedonggang Hotel, Sungri Street, Central district (beside Taedonggang river), +850 2 38346. 2nd class hotel that has been around since 1956.
  • Yanggakdo Hotel, +850 2 381 2134. Opened 1995. This is where most tourists in Pyongyang end up staying. It is situated on Yanggakdo Island, in the middle of the Taedong River. It is 47 stories tall, has several restaurants (including a revolving restaurant on the top), and a kitsch casino in the basement where you can watch Chinese gamblers go wild. Also has a bowling alley, shoe repair shop and (genuine) massage service. The staff are Chinese. Prices range from €70 for a third-class room on one of the lower floors, to €420 for a deluxe room high up. Meals are included.
  • Koryo Hotel, Changkwang Street, +850 2 381 4397. The most luxurious hotel in the city together with Yanggakdo Hotel. Has 45 floors and over 500 rooms. Centrally located in downtown Pyongyang near the train station, makes you less isolated than the Yanggakdo. Singles €175, doubles €290.
  • Potongang Hotel, +850 2 381 2229. First-class hotel situated next to the Potong River about 4 km from the city centre. It has 216 rooms equipped with air conditioning, refrigerator, telephone and satellite TV. The facilities include restaurants, bar, souvenir shop and a beauty salon.
  • Sosan Hotel, Kwangbok Street, +850 2 71191. Another first-class option, recently renovated. Features a pool, bars, internet access and cable TV.
  • Ryanggang Hotel, Chongchun Street (at the junction of the Taedonggang and Potonggang rivers), Mangyongdae district, +850 2 73825. Opened in 1989, this first-class hotel has 317 rooms and a rotating restaurant on the roof.

Stay safe

North Korean citizens are the most heavily-monitored and policed people in the world. You are unlikely to have any trouble with them. Just remember that YOU are even more scrutinized than they are by the government... an organization which has kidnapped numerous individuals for its own purposes.

  • Mangyongdae, the alleged birthplace of Kim Il Sung, is 12 kilometers from central Pyongyang and a good daytrip. A collection of huts claimed to be the Leader's first home is the main attraction, and they look surprisingly new for being 100 years old. The suburb also features a revolutionary museum, a funfair and a revolutionary school for the kids of the elite.

The Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery, around 15km north east of the city, is a good day out. You walk up 300 steps, through gardens with hidden speakers playing mournful music, to fairly identikit bronze busts set on marble plinths. Seriousness, of course, is mandatory. Taking photos is fine, and on a clear day there are magnificent views over the city.

At the foot of the hill there is a zoo and a park. One can visit both, at a small charge, although they are sometimes shut. As you approach, on the right is the subway terminus, for those brave enough/able to use it. It takes around 40 minutes to get back into town on the subway.

In the zoo itself are a lot of tigers, dogs and chickens. The two Korean breeds (the lighter coloured is the northern, the darker the southern one) are separated from one another by a steel fence, and spend most of their lives barking at each other. The chickens live in luxury- indeed, their cages are larger than those of the tigers, which seems a bit unfair.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun


  1. The capital of North Korea.


See also

Simple English

[[File:|166KB|thumb|right|Pyŏngyang metro system]] Pyŏngyang (평양 직할시 in hangul, 平壤直轄市 in hanja) is the capital and biggest city in the Asian country North Korea. The government does not want people to know anything so Pyongyang is one of the few places in North Korea that foreigners (outside people) can travel (go) to.

The population of Pyongyang is 3,255,388.


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