The 105-story Ryugyong Hotel in North Korean capital Pyongyang is set to open in the spring 25-years after construction began, Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported.
North Korean developers began construction in 1987 as a response to South Korea’s new towers built for the 1988 Olympics. The building is taller than New York’s Chrysler Building and constructed almost entirely of concrete.
From The Washington Post:
“The North Koreans made it very clear that Kim Jong Il and other top officials considered this renovation a priority,” said Park Kil-sang, a liaison in the negotiations. “But it looked like a huge cement mountain, and it showed the wear of 20 years of just sitting there untouched. We actually figured it would be better to break it down entirely and build a new hotel from scratch.”
The goal for the North Koreans was to build it by April 15, 2012 which is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s “Eternal President” and father of the late Kim Jong-Il.
Unfortunately, “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il did not live long enough to see his project come to completion.
The death of Kim Jong-Il last December and the appointment of his unknown and untested 20-something son, Kim Jong-Un, as his successor, has left the world on the edge of it’s seat and with plenty of questions: Will his son have the personality and the power to match his larger than life father? Will this young leader be able to keep an iron grip on the people and how will he lead the 1.2 million-strong army with his fingers on the nuclear button? The US, South Korea and North Korea’s neighbors are watching closely and anxiously to see what comes next. After Kim Jong-Il: America and the Two Koreas, the latest radio documentary from America Abroad.
This news is on the heels of a YouTube video that has gone viral: young North Korean musicians playing a popular pop song from the 1980s on their accordions. Their video has attracted more than one million hits.