[KS] Info about Pyongyang

Kay Dege kaydege at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 14 07:30:54 EDT 2012

Normally, the North Korean tour guides bombard you with data whenever you approach a revolutionary site. But these are only the data contained in the official guide books and pamphlets - and some data are just missing. In order to give you the official data I won't answer your questions from my own memory, but from my collection of N.K. guide books and pamphlets:

1. "In the period of the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung had already elaborated a far-reaching plan to develop a brilliant national culture in the liberated fatherland. Though he was busy with building the Party, the state and the armed forces after liberation, he founded, first of all, the Korean Central History Museum on the 1st of December, 1945 (earlier than any other cultural institutions)." (booklet "The Korean Central History Museum", 1989). The Korean Central History Museum, first located on Moran-bong, was moved to the north side of Kim Il Sung Square in 1977. I never saw the original building on Moran-bong, but the U.S. Army Map Service City Plan of Pyongyang in 1:12,500, published in 1946, shows a museum on Moran-bong just south of Ulmil-dae (there is a grass covered clearing in the woods there now).

3. "The National Central Liberation Struggle Museum, the predecessor of the Korean Revolution Museum, was set up on August 1, 1948. It was renamed the Korean Revolution Museum in January 1961." (It is not said where it was located). "The Korea Revolution Museum on Mansu Hill was opened in April 1972 on the occasion of the 60th birthday of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung." (Pyongyang Review, 1995, pp. 67-68).

4. "The Korean Art Gallery was established in Pyongyang in 1954." (booklet "The Korean Art Gallery", 1985)

5. "The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum is a monumental building dedicated to the immortal exploits the great leader Comrade Kil Il Sung performed for the country and the people in defeating the aggression of the imperialist Allied forces. Originally, it was opened at Haebangsan-dong, Central District, Pyongyang, in August 1953 under the name of the Fatherland Liberation War Memorial. The present museum was opened on April 11, 1974." (Pyongyang Review, 1995, p. 69)

6. "A grand opening ceremony for the Three-Revolution Exhibition was held in April 1993 in the presence of the great leader President Kim Il Sung." (pamphlet "Three-Revolution Exhibition", undated)

10. The U.S. City Plan of Pyongyang published in 1946 shows an "Athletic Field" at the site of today's Kim Il Sung Stadium.

11. I think Anhak Palace did not have to be "rediscovered", it was always known. The U.S. City Plan of 1946 (which is based on earlier Japanese maps) shows the walls around Anhak Palace. The "Chart of the Koguryo ruins in the area of Mt. Taesong" in Pyongyang Review, 1988, p. 25, even shows the arrangement of the palace inside the outer walls. And I remember having seen a model of Anhak Palace together with artefacts in the Korean Central History Museum already on my first visit in 1988. Anhak Palace was not a tourist site then (though Taesong-san was).

12. "Thanks to the wise guidance of the respected leader Comrade Kim Il Sung and the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il, the tomb of King Tangun was reconstructed in October 1994." (pamphlet "Tomb of King Tangun", 1995). "Unveiling ceremony ....was held in a grand style on October 11, 1994." (Pyongyang Review, 1995, p.26)

Apart from the official guides two new books on Pyongyang might serve as useful sources: Philipp Meuser (ed.): Architekturführer Pjöngjang. 2 vols., Berlin 2011 (DOM Publishers) and Roger Mateos Miret with Jelena Prokopljevic: Corea del Norte, Utopía de hormigón. Arquitectura y urbanismo al servicio de una ideología. Brenes, Spain 2012 (Munoz Moya Editores).

Eckart Dege

 From: BJ <joinau at chollian.net>
To: 'Korean Studies Discussion List' <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws> 
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:11 PM
Subject: [KS] Info about Pyongyang

I am working on a research about Pyongyangurban planning. I have found some
difficulties, as one may expect with DPRK, with determining certain facts, dates
and locating some sites. I hope someone in the list could help me with one or more
of these many questions!
1.       KoreanCentralHistoryMuseum :it used to be on Moran Hill before
1977 (it is said to have opened there in 1945). Where was it located
2.       It was closed for renovation until
recently. Has it reopened?
3.       KoreanRevolutionMuseum:before being behind the Grand
Monument of Mansudae (1972), where was it located? It was supposed to be
founded in 1948 under the name of CentralStateMuseumof the Liberation Fight (I
translate from French).
4.      The KoreaArtGalleryhad been closed for “renovations”
for years. When has it reopened? (If it has). Was it opened first in 1954 or
5.       VictoriousFatherlandLiberationWarMuseum :it is said to have opened initially
in August 1953, but before being rebuilt in its actual location in 1974, where
was it located?
6.       Chris Springer says that the
Three-Revolutions Exhibition opened in 1993 (I have 1992 in another
source…), on the site of a former “exhibition”. Does anybody
know what kind of exhibition it was ?
7.       Was the USS Pueblo moved from Wonsanto Pyongyangin 1999? (I found different dates).
8.       Does anybody know where are located
the fast food restaurant, the new Italian restaurant and the micro-brewery?
9.       Does anybody know the date of
construction of Mansudae Art Studio? And why it was named this way despite the
fact that it is not in Mansudae area?
10.   When was the Kim Il Sung Stadium first built (before the extensions and renovations of the
1970’s and 1980’s, when it was still called the Moranbong Stadium)?
11.   From when the site of Anhak palace in
Taesong area has been “discovered” and opened to the public?
12.   When did the so-called mausoleum or
tomb of Tangun open to the public: 1993 or 1994?
Thank you!
Benjamin JOINAU
Yongsan-gu Itaewon-dong 119-28
140-200 Seoul, South Korea
Tel/fax : (822) 795-2465
Cell phone : (82) 10-8905-0696
E-mail : joinau at chollian.net
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