Will North Korea's "hotel of doom" ever be completed?
It's real name is the Ryugyong Hotel in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. As ONTD Politcal says, it's "infamously ugly and unfinished," and is essentially a "three-sided pyramid with walls that jag upwards at 75 degrees, capped by a series of concentric rings." It's easy to see why it's been called "the worst building in the history of mankind."
Construction began in 1987, right as the Soviet bloc was crumbling across the continent. Work on the building stopped for 16 years when the North Korean economy and subsequent funding for the hotel collapsed, leaving the obtuse, cement shell of a gigantic structure, looming over the city.
Graciously, the state flexed it's policy of economic isolation in 2008 by allowing an Egyptian conglomerate to supervise the rebuilding work. The firm, Orascom Telecom, took over the project as part of a $400 million deal with exclusive option to modernize North Korea's archaic cell phone market.
Egyptian are using 2,000 local workers to complete the structure. Now the outside of the building is covered in shimmering glass, which, from a distance, looks futuristic and luxurious.
But upon further inspection, one can see the unmitigated disaster this project has been for the centrally planned economy of the North Korean state: photos taken by the Associated Press this month reveal an empty cement interior.
In this Sept. 23, 2012 photo released by Koryo Group on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, a visitor, center left, stands on the ground floor of the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. After years of standing unfinished, construction on the exterior of the massive hotel resumed three years ago but the hotel has not yet opened to the public. This photo taken by the Beijing-based Koryo Tours shows that the interior remains unfinished. Credit: AP
In this Sept. 23, 2012 photo released by Koryo Group, visitors tour the top floor of the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. Credit: AP
"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," ONTD Political says.
The hotel presents a fitting allegory for the concept of the communist state: appealing, intriguing, and modern from afar, but an utterly hollow disaster on the inside.
Some facts about the hotel via ONTD Political:
330m (1,083ft) high, 105 floors
Construction started 1987, halted from 1993-2008
External works completed 2012
Internal works, 2012 or beyond
(H/T: ONTD Political)