GOOD Guide: to North Korea, The "Capital of Revolution" Tour (sec. 8 of 10)

Posted by Paul French

A tour of the city starts with the nearly 500-foot white granite Juche Tower, capped with a 65-foot torch symbolizing the "rays of Juche." It was erected in 1982 to celebrate Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday. From there, head to the 200-foot Arch of Triumph (slightly taller than Paris's Arc de Triomphe) erected to glorify Kim Il Sung's exploits. Then it's but a short hop to the Grand People's Study House, which can house 30 million books (though it doesn't) and is supposedly a "center for the project of intellectualizing the whole of society and a sanctuary of learning for the entire people." Next it's off to Kim Il Sung Stadium, which can hold 150,000 spectators and opened with an "international marathon" featuring runners from just seven countries. Finally, head to the wide-open spaces of Kim Il Sung Square, rivaled in size only by Beijing's Tiananmen. Nearby is the final stop on the tour, the ultimate must-see attraction-the Mansudae Grand Monument, a 65-foot statue of Kim Il Sung. When the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping visited the statue he noted with disgust that it was coated in gold. The North Koreans recoated it in less ostentatious bronze shortly thereafter.