Pyongyang Travel Guide
Pyongyang is the political, cultural, economic, and administrative centre of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Or, as it is put in North Korean propaganda– “Pyongyang is the Heart of Korea”. It is located on a fertile plain (in fact the Chinese characters for Pyongyang themselves mean “flat land”) on the Taedong River, and has a settled history going back thousands of years. It has been an important city in Korean history for at least two thousand years, being one of the capitals of the Koguryo Dynasty (1st century BC to 7th century AD) and an important regional centre in subsequent dynasties.
When the peninsula was divided after the defeat of Japan in WWII in 1945, the South received Seoul, which had become the capital of Korea at the beginning of the Ri Dynasty (14th century) and through the period of Japanese colonisation during the early 20th century. The government of the North made Pyongyang its capital, and set about building it into the ideal socialist city. After Pyongyang was obliterated by US bombing during the Korean War, Pyongyang’s urban planners had all the leeway they could have wanted to completely reconstruct the city according to a socialist master plan. Subsequent large-scale projects in the decades after have created an impressive city replete with monuments, huge apartment complexes, straight and broad streets, and plenty of parks and riverside areas.
Recently (2010s) Pyongyang has been undergoing a boom, with several new large-scale high-rise apartment complexes being built, a host of new leisure facilities, and new restaurants cropping up like bamboo shoots after rain (as in the Korean proverb), in addition to a round of renovation of older facilities.