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Giant North Korean Hotel Sees Work Restart

It's been a long time coming but the stalled Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea has finally begun construction again after monsters of rumours it would see work finally restart.

The 300 metre tall, 105 floor pyramidal structure has been a symbol of the stalled communist regime in the country ever since work on it was halted leaving a bare concrete frame.

The scheme began construction in 1987 and was originally set to open in 1989 but problems with the construction method and the North Korean government obtaining materials that were becoming increasingly scarce to them following the fall of the Berlin Wall pushed the completion back.

Work continued through until 1992 when it was finally halted complete with a construction crane on the top of the topped out concrete skeleton that has remained there ever since.

Work has only begun thanks to the intervention of Egypt's Orascom Group who saw the building as an ideal place to put some communications masts for the nascent North Korean mobile phone network that they see as the starting point for luring in 100,000 subscribers.

This has come in the form of the renovation and fitting out of the top floors of the building with Orascom also planning to give the building a make over by installing a new reflective glass fašade.

This does not mean that Ryugyong Hotel will actually live up to its name and operate as a hotel but rather there will be the impression that the building is complete even though internally most of it will not have been fitted out with the building services needed to turn it into a working 3,000 room hotel being missing.

The North Korean government aims to have the project "complete" in time for the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the existing communist state and man who remains president of the country today, despite being dead, an example of political longevity that will make most world leaders jealous.
Ryugyong Hotel on the Pyongyang skyline
Ryugyong Hotel on the Pyongyang skyline