Eternal Life Monument

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Following the death of the Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, in 1994 and his subsequent elevation to the role of Eternal President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea his son and successor, Kim Jong-il decreed that eternal life monuments (Yeong Saeng) be erected throughout North Korea. These monuments, found in all cities and towns and in workplaces, at sports centres and anywhere people congregate, are thought to number around 3,000 thousand and had the single purpose of reminding the people that Kim Il-sung is with them for ever. When built they were typically inscribed with the words, “Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-sung is with us for eternity”. Continue reading “Eternal Life Monument”

The Pre-nocturnal habits of newlyweds in North Korea

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My Reader will be familiar with the fact that in many countries newlyweds seek out special spots for their wedding photographs. Such spots are typically spots of outstanding beauty so you will come across newlyweds having their photos taken in parks and gardens, by waterfalls, at old castles and so on. Such photo shoots are invariably private affairs and typically do not involve tourists. Continue reading “The Pre-nocturnal habits of newlyweds in North Korea”

Amnokgang Hotel: “Clean and Comfortable”

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Until mid 2013 Sinuiju was off limits to western tourists and those who exited North Korea by train only stopped in the train station for customs and immigration formalities which took place on the train, as they still do for those proceeding into China. Visitors from China could only enter on a day trip with no overnight options.

Since mid 2013 it has been possible to stop-over in Sinuiju. At present there is only one hotel at which foreign visitors can stay – the Amnokgang Hotel. Continue reading “Amnokgang Hotel: “Clean and Comfortable””

International Friendship Exhibition

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Throughout our tour in North Korea our guides went to great lengths to extol the virtues and wholesomeness of North Korea and its Leaders and took great pride in the fact that it and its people are pure, clean and devoid of negative outside influences. Our guide told us of how the State makes every effort to protect itself and its citizens from everything bad and wicked. This, of course or at least for the domestic audience, explains why North Korea isolates itself from the outside world rather than the outside world isolating itself from North Korea. Continue reading “International Friendship Exhibition”

Pohyon Temple – Mt Myohyang

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Pohyon Buddhist temple, one of the few places of worship in North Korea open to foreign visitors, dates from 1042 and the Koryo dynasty. It was founded by a monk named Kwanghwak and is named after the saint that guards the morals of Buddha. The current incarnation of the temple mainly dates from post the Korean war (1951-53) when the temple complex was extensively damaged by US bombings with over half of the buildings completely destroyed. Continue reading “Pohyon Temple – Mt Myohyang”