The Ryugong/Ryugyong Hotel is one of the most unsettling structures erected in the modern age. Standing 1,082 feet tall with 105 floors, it sticks out of the Pyongyang skyline like a jagged knife, the North Korea version of a totalitarian Empire State Building. If there was any kernel of doubt in your mind that North Korea was a very, very wrong country, allow me to put it to rest.
Everything about the structure is soooo North Korean. It’s shaped like a steep pyramid with architecture that invokes evil with every angle. It has no windows. And although it’s the most imposing building in Pyongyang, it’s empty. The North Korean government began construction in 1987 (at an estimated cost of $750 million, or 2% of their total GDP) only to stop work in 1992 because the building is structurally unsound. The building will never be completed, but the surrounding area is too densely populated and developed to knock the hotel down. For more than a decade, the water-stained concrete block has stood there as an ever-present reminder that when it comes to anything productive, North Korea falls totally flat.
There are images of the damn creepy thing all over the internet, so I just chose two that show how menacing Ryugyong looks, and how it imposes on the Pyongyang skyline.