The massive Ryugyong Hotel, which towers over the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, has long been symbolic for all the wrong reasons. Built from 1987-1992, the monument was left unfinished at the end of the Cold War and languished for a decade and a half as a testament to the country's extravagant patriotic spending. Its planned seven revolving restaurants never even moved.
Now, after Egyptian conglomerate Orascom Group restarted construction on the pyramidal structure, the Ryugyong could become a symbol of even greater extravagance. Orascom has played a major role in the construction of North Korea's mobile telephone network, as well as that of Iraq's post-Saddam Coalition Provisional Authority. Both projects have met with skepticism from Western sources.
The overwhelming walls of grey glass that have gone up over the building's empty shell are no help to the perception that the renovation may be another waste of money for the impoverished country. The Independent quotes Lee Sang Jun, a professor of architecture at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, who said, "It is not a beautiful design. It carries little iconic or monumental significance, but sheer muscular and massive presence."
According to foreign residents, the Egyptian conglomerate Orascom has just begun refurbishing the top floors of the pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel, whose 330m (1,083ft) frame dominates the skyline of the capital of North Korea, which is one of the world's most reclusive and destitute countries.
A creaky building crane has for years sat unused at the top of the 3,000-room hotel in a city that tourists are only occasionally allowed to visit.
The communist North started construction in 1987 in a possible fit of jealousy at South Korea, which was about to host the 1988 summer Olympics and show off to the world the success of its rapidly-developing economy.
According to intelligence sources, the then North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung, saw the hotel as a symbol of his big dreams for the state he founded,
Originally posted by TheInterceptor
reply to post by SirMike
Is it just me or does this hotel look like its a 1950s flying saucer beaming something up?