Located along the banks of the Taedong River and opposite Kim Il Sung Square and the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang, the Juche Tower is a monument dedicated to North Korea’s governing political ideology of Juche. The structure features a unique layered stone tower design topped with a torch which glows at night. A bronze statue of a worker, farmer and intellectual holding aloft the Korean Workers’ Party emblem decorates its base. Visitors can view the structure from the outside before entering to see the museum on the inside and taking an elevator to the top to enjoy a stunning view of Pyongyang.
- The view from the top is stunning! Check out the tower at night to see the torch on top’s glowing effect, designed to look like the flickering of real flames.
- €5 fee for those wishing to see the view from the top.
Best times to visit
The Tower of the Juche Idea was constructed for Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday celebrations in 1982, together with the Arch of Triumph and the Grand People’s Study House. It is dedicated to North Korea’s national ideology of Juche, an offshoot of Marxist-Leninism which emphasises independence in national affairs, and North Korean particularism as opposed to the universalism of mainstream Marxist-Leninist thought.
- In the entrance to the interior can be found plaques donated by Juche Study Groups and individuals from all over the world.
- The structure is 170 metres high, and made from 25,550 granite blocks. One for each day in Kim Il Sung’s life up until his 70th birthday, when the tower was opened (365×70= 25,550). The dividers on the four sides of the structure add up to seventy.
- By the structure’s sides are two sets of symmetrically designed apartment blocks. Facing the tower from the front (from the Taedong River or Kim Il Sung Square), the two blocks of Korean characters on each side, together form a four character slogan– “Single Minded Unity” (일심단결; 一心團結). This slogan symbolises the unity of the people and the leaders as one.
- The golden characters on the front of the structure read “Juche”.
- A bronze statue of a worker, farmer and intellectual holding aloft a hammer, sickle and intellectual’s brush respectively, can be found at the structure’s base. Together, these three tools constitute the Korean Workers’ Party emblem. The brush of the Confucian intellectual is added to the hammer and sickle of traditional socialist ensigns, and takes a prominent place in the centre.
- The Tower is found on a monumental axis opposite the Grand People’s Study House. The Taedong River and Kim Il Sung Square are bisected by this axis.
- The prominence of this structure is perhaps an indication of the heavy emphasis on education North Korea’s still somewhat Confucian culture places. The Grand People’s Study House found opposite it is also a reflection of this.
- Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday was met with such fanfare—with the construction of the Grand People’s Study House, Arch of Triumph and the Juche Tower, because the age 70 has special significance in Confucian culture. It is the last of the stages of maturity that Confucius talks about in The Analects:
“At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the will of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right.” (吾十有五而志於學，三十而立，四十而不惑，五十而知天命，六十而耳順，七十而從心所欲，不逾矩。) – Confucius, The Analects, Chapter II 為政篇
- Wikipedia article on the Juche Tower:
- Wikipedia article on the Juche Idea:
Monument, Revolutionary, Architecture