North Korea Monitor

And the Ugliest Building in the History of Mankind is…

with one comment

The Ryugyong Hotel, or so says Esquire‘s Eva Hagberg.

Even by Communist standards, the 3,000-room hotel is hideously ugly, a series of three gray 328-foot long concrete wings shaped into a steep pyramid. With 75 degree sides that rise to an apex of 1,083 feet, the Hotel of Doom (also known as the Phantom Hotel and the Phantom Pyramid) isn’t the just the worst designed building in the world — it’s the worst-built building, too. In 1987, Baikdoosan Architects and Engineers put its first shovel into the ground and more than twenty years later, after North Korea poured more than two percent of its gross domestic product to building this monster, the hotel remains unoccupied, unopened, and unfinished.

Personally, I kinda like the 105-story monstrosity. It adds a unique flavor to Pyongyang. There’s no other building like it in the world!


 Despite being in a city where hotel rooms remain empty most of the year, authorities decided to construct the 3000 room hotel in preparation for the 1989 World Festival for Youth and Students (think: the Communist Olympics). It is also said that Kim Il Sung wanted to construct the Ryugyong to compete with the South Koreans who, at the time, were constructing a 105 story hotel in Singapore. Not only did the North run out of money before completion, their inexperienced engineers designed an unsafe, unsteady building. Apparently, not only is it uninhabitable, but authorities aren’t even sure how to take it down.

Today it is said that if you go on a tour of Pyongyang, tour guides do their best to ignore the site, and according to this site, it has been removed from all official maps. The building is completely empty. It contains no furniture, windows, or other fixtures.  It is also said to be crumbling as time goes on.

Construction was halted in 1992. The cost of the building was the equivalent of 2% of the North’s GDP. For more, check out this informational site.

Finally, be sure an check out this interesting Ryugyong-related site. It contains a virtual model of the building.


Written by nkmonitor

February 1, 2008 at 5:51 am

Posted in Inside North Korea

One Response

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  1. If they could just get the engines to fire I’m sure the launch would be spectacular.

    L. Harris

    February 1, 2008 at 6:42 am

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