Like everyone else, I had hoped that after our tiring though eventful ten hour bus trip from Pyongyang to Hamhung we would call it a day and head for our hotel. That was not to be. The day’s itinerary showed that we still had a fertiliser factory to visit and, notwithstanding that we were running a couple of hours late, visit it we did! Continue reading “Hungnam Fertiliser Factory – Hamhung, North Korea ”
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”
The purpose of this review is to introduce you to the key people (Kims) you should be familiar with prior to visiting North Korea. You will certainly be well aware of them before you leave unless you close your eyes and plug your ears for the duration of your trip! Should you read my other reviews you will encounter reference to, and more details on, these people with, perhaps, monotonous regularity. Welcome to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea!
Having eaten it was now time for an afternoon of culture before we had to bid farewell to Sinuiju and to North Korea.
Our first stop was the Sinuiju Art Gallery. Continue reading “Sinuiju Art Gallery”
Across the road from the Eternal Life Monument is a duo of murals commonly found throughout North Korea and, in fact, the only murals that I have seen in multiple locations, including in Pyongyang and at Mt Myohyang in addition to this one in Sinuiju. The slogans on these murals are in keeping with the Eternal Life Monument and read “The great comrade Kim Il-sung will be with us forever” and “The great comrade Kim Jong-il will be with us forever”.
Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang, which has a virtual (if not real) monopoly on the production of statues, mosaics and murals of the leaders and, in fact, anything else featuring their images including the ubiquitous lapel pins worn by all adult North Koreans must have a raft of designers to be able to come up with an ever ending stream of new designs and pictures for this artwork.
One has to admit that the pastel colours and highly emphasised smiles on the leaders in these murals create a feeling of warmth and comfort in people looking at them. Who wouldn’t want to be under the wings and loving care of these omnipresent, wise, benevolent and endearing gentlemen?
The cult of personality, unparalleled by any other world leader or indeed person, remains very much alive and well in North Korea, even 20 years after the death of Kim Il-sung and, of course, murals such as this are aimed at cementing loyalty to the Kim dynasty into the future.
The vehicle in the foreground of this picture was our transport in Sinuiju, remembering that in addition to two of us and the driver, room was needed for our two guides as well.
By this stage it was getting on to mid morning and our attention now turned to a more recent generation of North Koreans – our next stop was a school, but off course no ordinary school.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on my trip to Sinuiju, North Korea. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Sinuiju School Visit – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – In North Korea – On the Border with China.
North Korean flower shows are not quite the same as flower shows elsewhere. Well, that’s not really a surprise as nothing is quite the same in North Korea. Continue reading “What did we say about the Flower Show?”
I have to say I wasn’t prepared for this. While we had seen numerous large mosaics on our trip to North Korea these mosaics surpassed all others and are truly amazing both in terms of quality and size. Yes, that is a 9 storey apartment block behind them. Continue reading “Mosaics of the Leaders”
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””
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”
Where does one begin?
Today was the day when shirts and ties were required for men with appropriately modest attire required for the ladies. We were headed for the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, final resting place for both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Both leaders have been embalmed and lie in state for loyal subjects and tourists to visit. Clearly this is a site of very great importance to the North Korean people and one, quite reasonably, requiring a level of reverence and discretion from all those who visit. Continue reading “Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – Meet the Leaders”