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Ryugyong Hotel

Ryugyong Hotel
Korean Name
McCune-Reischauer Ryugyŏng Hot'el
Revised Romanization Ryugyeong Hotel
Hangul 류경 호텔
Hanja 柳京 호텔
[Note: There are no Hanja for "Hotel" (호텔)]

The Ryugyong Hotel (or Ryu-Gyong Hotel) is a towering, empty concrete shell in Sojang-dong, in the Potong-gang District of Pyongyang, North Korea. Its 105 stories rise some 330 m (1,083 ft), and it boasts some 360,000 m² (3.9 million ft²) of floor space, making it the most prominent feature of the city's skyline and by far the largest structure in that country. If the building were ever completed it would be one of the world's largest hotels, and one of the world's biggest and largest buildings overall. Today, however, it remains uninhabited and unfinished.

Construction on the pyramid-shaped hotel began in 1987. Its 105-story planned height was reportedly a Cold War response to a South Korean company's completion of the Stamford Hotel in Singapore the previous year. The Ryugyong's 3,000 rooms and 7 revolving restaurants were to open in June 1989 for the World Festival of Youth and Students, but problems with building methods and materials delayed it. Its estimated cost ran upwards of $750 million—2% of North Korea's GDP— and it is generally assumed construction came to a halt in 1992 due to lack of funding, acute electricity shortages, and the prevailing famine. The basic structure is complete, and the structure is illuminated at night, but no windows, fixtures or fittings have been installed. According to Emporis, the concrete used in building the Ryugyong Hotel is of unsuitable quality and therefore is unsafe.

Some question the logic of building such a massive hotel, given that the number of tourists in North Korea remain small. The luxury Koryo Hotel and Yanggakdo Hotel alone have more than adequate capacity. Neverthless, the North Korean government has said it was seeking foreign investors to complete construction of the Ryugyong.

The building was cleverly recreated as "Song Tower" in the video game Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction.

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Last updated: 08-31-2005 00:47:18