Wonsan Central Square and the Mangyongbong 92

Given a fairly tight schedule in Wonsan we only had time for a brief stop in the city’s central square, surprisingly not to formally visit and pay our respects at the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il but rather to see a ferry which, apart from a few ‘special runs’, has lain unused here, by the dock, since 2006.

Continue reading “Wonsan Central Square and the Mangyongbong 92”

Pujon Stone River and Revolutionary Site

After what turned out to be a four hour drive from Hamhung (as opposed to the expected three), due to problems with one of our buses we arrived at the entrance to Mt. Ongryon park in the Pujon Highlands, one of the ‘Eight Great Sights of Korea’.  Here we met our local guide for our short walk to the Stone River and to some very special trees.   The bus trip, which I have written about in two separate reviews (Part A HERE and Part B HERE), while at times gruelling, was scenically beautiful and gave us some insight into everyday life (road maintenance in particular!) in this remote and rarely visited part of North Korea.

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Hamhung Overview – Part B – Sightseeing incl Shots from the Window of a Bus

In Part A of this review I focused on a general overview of Hamhung and its history, in particular its development as an important industrial centre and port. I also briefly covered the city’s destruction as a result of American blanket bombing in the early part of the Korean War and the (disproportionately) horrific impact that the mid to late 1990s famine had on the city. The city and its people have been slow to recover from these events and for this reason it was off-limits to foreigners until around 2010. Continue reading “Hamhung Overview – Part B – Sightseeing incl Shots from the Window of a Bus”

Hamhung – Overview Part A – Introduction and Background

Hamhung, on the east coast of North Korea, is the country’s second largest city and a major industrial centre and port. It is the capital of South Hamyong Province and has a population of nearly 800,000 or less than a third that of the capital, Pyongyang which lies some six to eight hours away by road and much more by train. It took me ten hours to get there as we had a couple of scheduled stops, and one unscheduled one, along the way. Continue reading “Hamhung – Overview Part A – Introduction and Background”

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 on this, that and everything. Continue reading “National Gifts Exhibition House”

World War II at the Australian War Memorial

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“Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially, that in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war. No harder task can fall to the lot of a democratic leader than to make such an announcement.” Continue reading “World War II at the Australian War Memorial”

Koryo Museum

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This large complex of buildings (currently nearly 20) originally dates from 992 when the site housed the Taemyon Palace which later became an imperial guest-house and then the Bureau for Confucian Doctrines. In 1089 it became ‘the Kakjagam’ or highest centre of learning in Kaesong for those seeking to enter the civil service. Children of the aristocracy attended this centre of Confucian learning throughout the Koryo period and the subsequent Ri period which ended in the late 19th century. Continue reading “Koryo Museum”

Mangyongdae – Birthplace of Kim Il-sung

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Mangyongdae – Kim Il-sung’s Birthplace

Our guide assured us that Kim Il-sung was born here, into a patriotic and revolutionary family of several generations standing, on 15 April 1912 and that it was from here, at the tender age of 13, that he set out on the road of revolutionary struggle for Korea’s liberation from Japan. Once he left Mangyongdae in 1925 he didn’t return to Pyongyang until “he” had liberated Korea in Oct 1945. Continue reading “Mangyongdae – Birthplace of Kim Il-sung”

Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

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Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

This is the final of a series of five reviews on the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum Complex. If you have not already done so, please read my introductory Complex review before continuing.

This impressive museum displays the history of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War through the eyes of the DPRK and pulls no punches in doing so. Continue reading “Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum”