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  • The skyline of Pyongyang, North Korea, is  dominated by a massive, hulking structure,  

  • outshining every other building in sightIt's the largest building in North Korea,  

  • but, on the inside, it's more like a ghost town  than a monument to a thriving modern metropolis.  

  • Standing at a staggering 1,080 feet tall  with 105 stories, The Ryungyong Hotel,  

  • better known as theHotel of Doom,” is the  tallest unoccupied building in the world. So,  

  • what is it about the hotel that  earned such a sinister nickname?  

  • Like many other aspects of North Korea, the  unfinished hotel has a dark and complex history.

  • Construction on the impressive-looking  vacation destination was started in 1987  

  • under Kim Il-sung, who was president of the  republic at that time. The construction began  

  • after the completion of the Westin Stamford  Hotel in Singapore, which was, at that time,  

  • the tallest hotel in the world. The  Ryungyong was meant to be an answer to this,  

  • and a strikingif admittedly pretty petty  – way to surpass the achievements of North  

  • Korea's neighbors. It was intended to be  the tallest building in the world and the  

  • largest hotel ever built, but, predictablythe construction process soon went south.

  • The hotel was built in the shape  of a pyramid, or a large mountain,  

  • and was intended to be topped with a 14-floor  cone that would revolve and include restaurants,  

  • shops, and ballrooms amongst its  luxurious rooms. Many have noted  

  • the hotel's resemblance to the description  of the Ministry of Truth from Orwell's 1984,  

  • the home of the government's propaganda machine  in the famous dystopian novel. Whether this is  

  • deliberate or not is unknown, but it does  carry a certain cruel irony nonetheless.

  • Initially, the construction of the hotel  was funded by the Soviet Union. However,  

  • when the Soviet Union collapsed, the funding  was lost and the construction was stopped as  

  • North Korea experienced a massive economic  crash. After electrical issues, famine,  

  • and a lack of quality materials hit the projectconstruction was officially stopped in 1992. The  

  • hotel was left unfinished, with the outside  built and standing at its full height, but the  

  • inside incomplete and empty. It is during this  time that the hotel began to earn its nickname,  

  • theHotel of Doom,” and many media outlets  referred to it as theWorld's Worst Building.”

  • People saw it as a sign of failure and a blight  on the reputation of the North Korean nation;  

  • quite literally the total opposite of the  shining example the Kim dynasty had intended.

  • Then, suddenly and without acknowledgement  of the long pause in its development,  

  • construction resumed a full 16 years after it  had been first stopped. In 2008, an Egyptian  

  • company agreed to pay for the completion of the  hotel. The resumed construction was announced,  

  • along with a planned opening date of 2012, in  celebration of Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday. A  

  • glass facade was added in 2011, and it seemed  as though genuinely progress was being made.

  • Kempkinski, an international hotel operator  famous for luxury establishments, agreed to  

  • take over the hotel's management. Then, in 2013,  construction stopped again with no explanation.  

  • They pushed the hotel's opening date back even  further, then eventually canceled it altogether.

  • To this day, the hotel has never been finishedOccasionally, rumors will circulate about new  

  • construction, such as in 2017, when scaffolding  appeared on the building, or in 2019, when new  

  • signage was spotted above the hotel's entranceHowever, there has never been an official  

  • announcement, and the hotel has yet to ever  open. It is, however, still used for something.

  • In 2018, the lighting designer put together  a light show made up of political slogans,  

  • party symbols, and other government propaganda  to be projected onto the surface of the building.  

  • Apparently, it plays for hours every  night, and as an empty husk of a building  

  • covered in vapid propaganda, it serves aspretty apt metaphor for the entire project.

  • TheHotel of Doomstands just as it did when  its construction first began, just as empty and  

  • just as haunting. The interior is a blank voidwith the lights of the city outside illuminating  

  • blank concrete and unfurnished roomswhich feels  especially eerie when combined with the elaborate  

  • facade outside. It's almost more like a cardboard  cutout of a hotel than the real thing. Maybe it  

  • will be finished someday, but for the foreseeable  future it continues to be a doomed project,  

  • a vacant, ghostly reminder of a nationalistic  dream unfinished and a promise unfulfilled.

  • Check outWhy The Dating Scene In North Korea  Is InsaneandWhat It Is Really Like Living  

  • In North Korea?” for more startling  facts about life inside the DPRK.

The skyline of Pyongyang, North Korea, is  dominated by a massive, hulking structure,  

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Why Did North Korea Build World’s Biggest Abandoned Hotel?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/29
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