It was supposed to become the world’s tallest hotel. Instead, it became the world’s tallest abandoned building. The pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel is 330 meters (1,080 ft) tall and one of the most prominent features of Pyongyang’s skyline. The structure consists of 105 floors and it was originally intended to house five revolving restaurants, and between 3,000 to 7,665 guest rooms.
Construction began in 1987 and it was North Korea’s response to other high-rise development taking place in cities around the West and Asia during the Cold War. For North Korean leadership, it was also an attempt to bring western investors into the marketplace. The hotel was scheduled to open in June 1989 for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, but problems with building methods and materials delayed completion.
In 1992, after it reached its architectural height, construction halted due to the economic crisis and famine in North Korea following the collapse of the Soviet bloc. By then, the hotel’s construction cost $750 million, consuming 2% of North Korea’s GDP. For over a decade, the unfinished building sat vacantly and without windows, fixtures, or fittings, appearing as a massive concrete shell while A rusting construction crane remained at the top. In 2008, construction resumed by the Egyptian Orascom company. The company had also made a deal to operate North Korea’s
telecommunications network and installed antennas on top of the building. By 2011 work had finished. Ryugyong Hotel was fitted with windows but not much work had taken place in the hotel’s interior. Since then, there have been many rumors of the hotel finally opening but until today it remains unoccupied.
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