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Posts Tagged ‘urban’

Ryugyong Hotel: The World’s Biggest Haikyo

In North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, is located one of the most grotesque buildings in the world, the Ryugyong Hotel. Its pyramidal shape, along with its 105 storeys and 330 meters high, makes it worthy of any retro-futuristic mega-metropolis. But its most bizarre aspect is the fact that it is a colossal ruin, since 1992, when its construction stopped. Since then, in the middle of the urban landscape of Pyongyang, it rises in the morning dew, like a scary ghost.

Construction started in 1987. It is thought that this megalomaniac project was just another propaganda stunt from North Korea’s regime, because, had it been finished in the expected time, it would have been the highest hotel in the world. Among other amazing characteristics, it would have 360 000 m2 of area, 3000 bedrooms, 7 restaurants located on the top (rotating) storeys.

Conceived as a grandiose projection of emerging wealth, the hotel instead became a symbol of North Korea’s hubris and of the state’s failing financial system. At the time, it was estimated that about 750 million dollars would be needed to finish building the project, something along the lines of 2% of the country’s GDP. The North Korean government initially promised to pay for the most part of the expenses. In the meantime, there were some issues with the raw materials, with the energy supply and with the financing. The construction techniques used themselves raised several doubts, especially about the structure’s resistance. Construction ceased in 1992 and that’s how it has remained for the following 16 years.

In Spring 2008, however, construction was resumed. An Egyptian company started to refurbish the hotel’s top floors and glass paneling the facades. However, the doubts about the structure’s resistance remain, especially after 16 years of exposure to weathering, which has left several cracks and corrosions marks. The government’s idea is to have the building finished by 2012, year of the centennial of Kim Il Sung’s (founder of the country) birthday.

For sixteen years, the Ryugyong stood as an uninhabited shell, with a crane on its top levels to present the appearance of ongoing construction. The ongoing construction story was also conveyed by tour guides as an official response to the queries of visitors. Eventually, tour guides demurred or ignored questions about the immense, vacant structure.

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

Protected: First Expedition: Meeting Location

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First Expedition: You Spoke, We Listened!

You Spoke, We Listened! The alternative sightseeing spot with most votes is ‘The Ice and Wind Caves in Aokigahara – Mt. Fuji’!

And to give you a little a glimpse of what you might experience this Saturday, I added videos, images and explanations about each spot here.

Narusawa Ice Cave
Narusawa Ice Cave was formed by Lava from Mt.Fuji with average temperatures hanging in the 2.7°C (37°F) throughout the year. The cave is covered with ice 364 days, and icicles are every where you can possibly imagine. One single icicle sometimes grown up 27.4m (90ft.) long and 45cm (1.5ft.) wide. The entire cave is 137m (450ft.). Entrance fee: ¥200 p/person.

Fukagu Wind Cave
Fugaku Wind Cave was also formed by Lava from Mt.Fuji with average temperatures hanging in the 2.7°C (37°F) all year round, making this cave propitious for cold storage of silkworms. It is about 182m (600ft.) length and 8.2m (27ft.) height.
Somehow, there is no echo sound inside it and the walls are all covered with ice. Entrance fee: ¥200 p/person.

Weather Forecast
Quick update on the weather forecast for Saturday, June 5.

Thank you everyone so much for your votes! And I am looking forward to experiencing this trip with you this Saturday! Yay!!

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author