“Ugliest Building In The World” 18 Facts About North Korea’s Ryugong Pyramid Hotel, a Socialist Embarrassment

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Here are 18 facts about the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea:

1. The Ryugyong Hotel is an unfinished 105-story skyscraper located in Pyongyang, North Korea.

2. It is 330 meters (1,080 feet) tall, making it the most prominent feature of Pyongyang’s skyline and the tallest building in North Korea.

3. The construction of the Ryugyong Hotel started on August 28, 1987.

4. The building was topped out in 1992 but the construction was halted the same year due to North Korea’s economic crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

5. The building stood topped out but without any windows or interior fittings after the construction was halted in 1992.


6. The exterior of the building was completed on July 14, 2011, and the construction resumed in 2008 after a long halt.

7. The hotel was planned to open in 2012, the centenary of founding leader Kim Il Sung’s birth, but it didn’t happen.

8. A partial opening was announced for 2013, but this too was cancelled.

9. In 2018, an LED display was fitted to one side, which is used to show propaganda animations and film scenes.

10. The building consists of three wings, each measuring 100 m (330 ft) long and 18 m (59 ft) wide, lightly stepped once but otherwise sloping at 75 degrees to the floor, which converge at a common point to form a pinnacle.

11. The building is topped by a truncated cone 40 m (130 ft) wide, consisting of eight floors that are intended to rotate, topped by a further six static floors.

12. The structure was originally intended to house five revolving restaurants, and either 3,000 or 7,665 guest rooms, according to different sources.


13. The Ryugyong Hotel was intended to be a mixed-use development, including “revolving restaurant” facilities along with a “mixture of hotel accommodation, apartments and business facilities”.

14. The plan for a large hotel was reportedly a Cold War response to the completion of the world’s tallest hotel, the Westin Stamford Hotel in Singapore, in 1986 by the South Korean company SsangYong Group.

15. North Korean leadership envisioned the project as a channel for Western investors to step into the marketplace.

16. A firm, The Ryugyong Hotel Investment and Management, was established to attract a hoped-for $230 million in foreign investment.

17. A representative for the North Korean government promised relaxed oversight, allowing “foreign investors [to] operate casinos, nightclubs or Japanese lounges”.

18. North Korean construction firm Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers began construction on the pyramid-shaped hotel in 1987.

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