What is North Korea & Pyongyang known for?
North Korea is known for its fascination and terror in the same measure. Most of the world knows North Korea for its former leader Kim Jong-II and the current Kim Jong Un. However, the fascinating thing about Pyongyang is its architecture.
The destruction of Pyongyang
The whole Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 19101. Then, after World War II the United States took the southern half while USSR took the northern half. Each side propped its government, and there was peace for some time. However, the Northern army attacked the south in 19502. During the war that lasted for three years, the US came to the aid of the South, and literary bombed every town in Northern Korea. Pyongyang was not spared either and was almost entirely destroyed.
Video: Eddo Hartmann speaks about his experiences in North Korea
Video: Interview Eddo Hartmann (English subtitles)
Making of video: Eddo Hartmann photographing in North Korea
Rebuilding the capital after the Korean war
The city was rebuilt after the war. The main style was socialist classicism under an architect called Boris Iofan3. The funds came from Moscow, technical assistance from East Germany and the manpower from China. One of the first buildings to come up was the Kim Il Sung Square4 which is at the heart of Pyongyang. There were a number of other Japanese-era buildings that survived the war too. The leader at the time, Kim II Sung championed for the creation of a great garden of Juche5 architecture in line with the new country’s ideology of self-reliance.
Focus on theater and art
There were several phases of construction that touched on theater and art. The first of them was the Korean Central Historical Museum and the Korean Art Gallery, both of which had interests in new housing. Then came the Pyongyang Grand Theatre when it was time to remodel the Pyongyang streets. As construction went on, there came the Pyongyang Metro which came to completion in 1973. The other theatrical development was the series of monuments that were built in the Mansu Hill Area. The Changgwang Street was then reshaped in 1980, and the Mansudae Assembly Hall rebuilt in 1984. The assembly became the seat of leadership for the country. Other great pieces of art have been built later.
Setting the stage: Pyongyang, North Korea by Eddo Hartmann
Setting the stage: Pyongyang, North Korea is a project by photographer Eddo Hartmann and Koryo Studio. Eddo captured many evocative pictures of landmarks that define the socialist city and the lives of people that live there.
Monuments & Statues