Korea Best Hotel In The World – 39°02′12″N 125°43′51″E / 39.03667°N 125.73083°E / 39.03667; 125.73083 Coordinates: 39°02′12″N 125°43′51″E / 39.03667°N 125.73083°E / 39.03667; 125.73083
An unfinished 105-story, 330-meter (1,080 ft) pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name (“Willow Capital”) is one of Pyongyang’s historical names.
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Construction began in 1987 but stalled as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992. After 1992, the building went up, but without any windows or interior fittings. In 2008, construction resumed and exterior work was completed in 2011. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2012, the year founding leader Kim Il-sung was born. A partial opening was announced for 2013, but was cancelled.
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In 2018, an LED display was installed on one side, which was used to show promotional animations and movie scenes.
A rough profile comparison of Ryugyong Hotel with some notable pyramidal or near-pyramidal buildings. Dotted lines indicate the original elevations for which data are available. In its SVG file, hover over a pyramid to highlight it and click for its text
Construction of the Ryugyong Hotel was intended to be completed in 1992 for the 80th birthday of Kim Il-sung, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and President.
The building consists of three wings, each 100 meters (330 ft) long and 18 meters (59 ft) wide, gently sloping once stepped on but otherwise sloping at 75 degrees to the ground.
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Come together at a common point to form a pin. The top of the building is a truncated cone 40 meters (130 ft) wide, consisting of eight stories designed to rotate, topped by six more fixed stories. The structure was originally planned for five revolving restaurants and 3,000 or 7,665 guest rooms, according to various sources.
According to Orascom’s Khaled Bichra in 2009, Ryugyong will be a mixed-use development with “a mix of hotel accommodation, apartments and business facilities”, including a “revolving restaurant” facility, not just a hotel.
The world’s tallest hotel, the Westin Stamford Hotel in Singapore, is said to have been a response to the Cold War when a large hotel was planned in 1986 by the South Korean company Ssangyong Group.
A company, The Ryugyong Hotel Investmt and Managemt, was formed to attract an expected $230 million in foreign investment.
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A representative of the North Korean government promised relaxed oversight that would “allow foreign investors to run casinos, nightclubs or Japanese lounges.”
North Korean construction firm Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers (also known as Beekdu Mountain Architects & Engineers) began construction of a pyramid-shaped hotel in 1987.
The hotel was scheduled to open for Kim’s 80th birthday in 1992, but its completion was delayed due to problems with construction methods and materials.
Had it opened on time, it would have surpassed the Westin Stamford to become the tallest hotel in the world.
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After the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea’s economic crisis halted operations.
For more than a decade, the unfinished building sat empty and appeared as a massive concrete shell without windows, fixtures or fittings.
The rusting structure was topped by a crane, which the BBC called “a reminder of the failed ambitions of a totalitarian state”.
According to Marcus Noland, in the late 1990s, the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea inspected the building and concluded that the structure was irreplaceable.
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Questions were raised about the quality of the building’s concrete and the alignment of its lift shafts, which some sources claimed were “crooked”.
In a 2006 article, ABC News questioned whether North Korea had enough raw materials or energy for such a large project.
A North Korean government official told the Los Angeles Times in 2008 that construction was not finished because “[North Korea] ran out of money.”
Mock-up photos of the completed hotel appeared on North Korean stamps during the initial construction period, but the North Korean government ignored the building’s existence during the construction hiatus, even though it dominated the Pyongyang skyline. The government manipulated official photographs to remove the unfinished structure from the skyline and omitted it from printed maps of Pyongyang.
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Foreign media sources have dubbed it “the worst building in the world” due to construction stoppages, rumors of problems and the mystery of its future.
In April 2008, Egyptian construction company Orascom Group resumed building work after 16 years of inactivity.
The company, which is involved in a $400 million contract with the North Korean government to build and maintain a cellular network, said its telecommunications contract was not directly related to the Ryuyeong Hotel work.
In 2008, North Korean authorities announced that the hotel would be opened by 2012 to coincide with Kim’s 100th birthday.
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In 2009, Orascom’s chief operating officer Bichara noted that they “didn’t have much trouble fixing reported structural problems” in the building, which has a revolving restaurant at the top.
In September 2012, Koryo Tours released photos showing the interior for the first time. There were few accessories or furniture.
In November 2012, international hotel operator Kempinski announced that it would operate the hotel, which was expected to partially open in mid-2013.
Kempinski did not elaborate on the reasons, but commentators have suggested that international threats related to North Korea’s 2013 nuclear test, economic risks and construction delays may have contributed.
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In late 2016, new activity was hinted at with a report that an Orascom representative had visited North Korea.
In 2017 and early 2018, there were signs of work at the site, including an access road under construction.
In April 2018 it was reported that a large LED display featuring the North Korean flag had been added to the top of the building.
In June 2019, the hotel’s name (in Korean and English) and its logo were a new sign on the main trans.