The Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-story, pyramid-shaped skyscraper located in North Korea, and is tallest unoccupied building in the world.
Something that makes this giant structure different than other towers around the world is that is the fact that it has been empty for more than thirty years. The 3,000-room hotel has never hosted a single guest.
Had the Ryugyong Hotel opened back in 1989, it would have been the seventh largest building in the world, and the tallest hotel. Other skyscrapers around the world have now surpassed the abandoned building in height.
North Korea’s dystopian government had big plans for the building. It was to boast hotel suites, revolving restaurants and nightclubs. However, these things never came to fruition. North Korea spent an estimated $522 million so far on the ill-fated building, which has never opened its doors.
Construction officially began on the project in 1987 after being conceived by the country’s first communist dictator and grandfather to Kim Jong-Un, Kim Il-Sung. The hotel was supposed to have been finished in time for North Korea’s 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in 1989. The goal was to help invigorate the country’s tourism industry.
The project had several major setbacks that caused work to stop. Inspection issues have plagued the hotel since the beginning. Back in the 1990s, the European Chamber of Commerce ruled that the building was irreparable. The primary evidence that the structure was unstable included crooked elevator shafts and weak concrete. European inspectors concluded that the building could not be saved, and recommended that it be torn down. However, North Korea did not heed the advice. Regardless, they were forced to stop work on the hotel due to a severe economic crisis and famine – which has been linked to more than 3.5 million deaths in the country.
The skyscraper is referred to as the ‘Hotel of Doom’ because of its poor design and the fact that the country has pumped millions of dollars into the project while masses of North Koreans starved to death. This building is a testament to North Korea’s insane priorities. Esquire magazine referred to the hotel as the “worst building in the history of mankind.” What was supposed to be a symbol of the country’s greatness became an ugly reminder of North Korea’s failings.
Now, it seems that North Korea is trying to revive the doomed project. Recent reports indicate that work has once again begun, with new satellite images showing trucks and cranes surrounding the skyscraper.
A German tourist who recently visited North Korea told reporters that his guides said that there are plans to open the hotel. The tourist, Till Mosler, said that he could see work activity around the entrance hall of the building. Mosler added that guides said that the entire structure probably wouldn’t open as far as they know, and that there might be plans for parts of the building to open as offices.
North Korea has tried to revive the project on multiple occasions. In 2008, the hotel received new windows. North Korea announced later that year that the hotel would open in 2012 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the country’s “Eternal President,” Kim II Sung. His birthday remains the country’s most important holiday. However, the hotel did not open that year.
In 2016, visitors once again saw signs of activity around the hotel and lights were noted to be on inside the structure for the first time in years. Workers strengthened the concrete and enhanced the exterior with new glass. The glass alone was rumored to cost more than $146 million.
The Egyptian Orascom Group, which took over as the developer, was in the country at the time to oversee the work. The new glass is genuinely spectacular. It makes the building brilliantly light up when it catches the sun.
Although there are speculations that the building could open as soon as 2017, it is still a mystery as to when it will open for visitors. The project is shrouded in secrecy and off-limits to foreign visitors. Plus, it has been rumored so many times before to be nearly completed and yet nothing has come to fruition.
~ Conservative Zone