Work actually began in 1987 under the regime of Kim Jong-Un’s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, and was meant to open two years later as a calculated snub to neighbouring South Korea.
The structure of the mighty pyramid was quickly completed, but work came to a shuddering halt in 1992 after the collapse of Pyongyang’s benefactor, the Soviet Union. It was an economic disaster for North Korea and provoked a devastating famine that killed up to 3.5 million people.
So what was supposed to have been a towering symbol of the country’s technical mastery instead became an idle hulk of blackness on the skyline, a mocking reminder of North Korea’s shambolic failings.
The longer it stood empty, the more international ridicule it attracted. An inspection by a European delegation in the Nineties concluded that the shell was irreparable and it should be torn down because of its poor-quality concrete and crooked elevator shafts.
Its fortunes have been revived by the deep-pocketed Egyptian Orascom Group which took over as developer in 2008 after reportedly signing a $400 million deal to establish a mobile phone network in North Korea. Orascom installed the dazzling glass panels along with telecom antennae.
Despite numerous promises of an opening date, as of January 2014 the Hotel of Doom remains unopen.
Top photo around March 2004 before the resumption of construction.
Second from top photo from September 2011.
Via Mail Online.