24 North Korea Buildings That Show Their Architecture Style (24 pics)
1Immediately, visitors are struck by the Workers' Party Monument. The outer belt reads, "Long live the Workers' Party of Korea, the organizer and guide of all victories of the Korean people!"
2Downtown Pyongyang's skyline is punctuated by the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, currently the tallest abandoned building in the world. It hasn't had any work done on it since 1992.
3On the other side of the city, the 558-feet-tall Juche Tower looms above the Taedong River.
4Some of North Korea's most impressive (and intimidating) architecture lives in the city center, such as the sprawling Manyongdae Children's Palace. It features two "arms" meant to imitate a mother's embrace.
5North Korea doesn't have enough of its own electricity, so at night the entire country goes pitch black. What little remains goes toward illuminating a picture of the country's founder, Kim Il-Sung.
6These buildings wouldn't be possible without the thousands of laborers who are forced to work long hours to build them.
7The conditions are often poor, if not downright treacherous.
8Much of the country's architecture is meant to honor North Korea's leaders, Kim Il-Sung, who led between 1972 and 1994, and Kim Jong Il, who followed Sung until his own death in 2011.
9The two men are proudly memorialized all around Pyongyang, most obviously at the People's Grand Assembly Hall.
10Nearby is the Fatherland Liberation War Museum, which celebrates Korea's victory over the imperialist American forces during the Korean War.
11One building in central Pyongyang reads, "The great comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il will be with us forever."
12Disregarding the blatant propaganda, there are many aspects of North Korean architecture that are genuinely impressive. The metro station is among the most ornate in the world.
13Perhaps unsurprisingly, North Korea is also home to the largest sports arena in the world, May Day Stadium.
14Filled to capacity, it's capable of holding 150,000 people. Most often, it's used for the annual Mass Games, which pay tribute to the country's history.
15Amid the bleakness of everyday life, people also manage to find time to have fun at the Munsu Water Park.
16Science also plays a big role in North Korea. The Sci-Tech Complex, for example, was built in the shape of an atom and opened in early 2015.
17The country's leader, Kim Jong Un, has said he hopes the center will help "advance the establishment of a rich and powerful fatherland through the locomotive of science and technology."
18The structure joins the Mirae Scientists Street, which North Korea wants to use as its hub for becoming a global force in innovation.
19Some apartment buildings sport solar panels.
20Many of the buildings stand out for their bold color palettes and industrial feel.
21But others, like the Wonsan Baby Home and Orphanage, opt instead for bright pastels.
22Completed in June of 2015, the home is spread across several floors. Its blues and yellows stand in stark relief to the concrete that dominates so much of North Korea's landscape.
23Whatever bright spots there may be, from far away the skyline clearly reveals North Korea's obsession with power and might.