North Korea’s iconic Ryugyong Hotel is finally set to open this April, 24 years after construction started. For decades the massive building, which looks like a blend of a pyramid and a rocket ship and is the tallest structure in North Korea, stood unused and became a powerful symbol of the country’s problems. Construction of the 105-story building started in 1987 with the goal of being the world’s tallest tower and a showcase of the communist country’s prosperity. But in the early ‘90s, construction stalled, reportedly because of money shortages following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Eventually, what was supposed to be a hotel of 3,000 rooms with revolving restaurants and other perks turned out to be the biggest eyesore in Pyongyang. Esquire magazine once called it the “worst building in the history of mankind.” Work on the hotel resumed three years ago when the North Korean government announced a partnership with an Egyptian telecom conglomerate to finish the white elephant.
Thursday, February 9, 2012