National Gifts Exhibition House

Nearly everywhere in the world it is courteous and common practice to bestow gifts upon leaders and dignitaries on official visits. Also, gifts are commonly given and received on important national days, birthdays and such like.

While the North Korean Leaders (here I mean Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un and, oddly perhaps, Kim Jong-suk (wife of Kim Il-sung and mother to Kim Jong-il)) have travelled very little outside of North Korea and few leaders or high officials visit them from overseas they have managed to amass ‘hundreds of thousands’ of gifts since 1945. These have come from all corners of the world as well as from within North Korea – where the Leaders have travelled somewhat more, dispensing their trademark on-the-spot guidance and this, that and everything. Continue reading “National Gifts Exhibition House”

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Taedongmun Cinema House

We passed this building on a number of occasions but didn’t actually stop or get to go inside. While suspecting a theatre, I didn’t know what the building was so, as I was really taken by the look of the exterior, I decided to investigate further. My investigations tell me that this is the Taedongmun Cinema House. Continue reading “Taedongmun Cinema House”

Pyongyang Trams and Observations from a Short Trip on the Kowngbok (Liberation) Line

Given the dearth of private vehicles in North Korea ordinary citizens rely on public transport to get around, where they cannot walk or cycle to their desired destinations. In Pyongyang public transport comprises a metro (underground) system, trams, trolley-buses and buses. This is supplemented by an increasing number of taxis but due to their extremely high cost, compared to other forms of public transport, they are really only an option for the upper and (growing) middle classes. Continue reading “Pyongyang Trams and Observations from a Short Trip on the Kowngbok (Liberation) Line”

The Kwangbok Department Store – Let’s Go Shopping

Unless in the middle of the night, when I arrive at any destination the first thing I do, having dropped off my bags at the hotel, is to go out for a walk in the neighbourhood. The walk will invariably lead to a coffee or another beverage suitable to the time of day or my mood and, if I come across one, a look through a market or shop. Not so in North Korea. Continue reading “The Kwangbok Department Store – Let’s Go Shopping”

Pyongyang Railway Station

Personally, I think Pyongyang’s Railway Station is one of the most beautiful buildings in North Korea but then again I have a thing about railway stations. While many of the high rise buildings built, at the speed of Chollima, in the city in the last five years or so may be as aesthetically pleasing, in their own ways, I wonder about their potential longevity. Continue reading “Pyongyang Railway Station”