Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea. This large city is situated in the west part of the country. The name Pyongyang means “the place that is always cozy”. When arriving in the city, it is easy to understand why this North Korean city has such a pleasant name. The area near Pyongyang impresses generations of travelers with its picturesque and unforgettable beauty. Indeed, the city is incredibly cozy. Opposite to other capitals of the world, Pyongyang has a calm and peaceful atmosphere. People do not hurry anywhere, and there are not many cars on the streets. Because of this, it is comfortable and trouble-free to visit all major landmarks of the capital and familiarize yourself with the main traditions of the Koreans.
According to a local legend, Pyongyang was founded in 1122 BC. This is when the legendary king Dangun established a settlement called Wanggeom-seong. This city was the capital of the ancient state of Gojoseon. However, many historians have doubts regarding this legend and think the city was founded only at the beginning of our age. When the Han dynasty captured the territory of Gojoseon, the emperor established four commanderies in the region. The capital was moved to Nanglang, an area near Pyongyang. The city remained in the shadow until 313 when Goguryeo became the dominating force in the region.
The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which was formerly known as the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, remains one of the most famous attractions in Pyongyang. Some people informally call it the Kim Il-sung Mausoleum. This large palace complex is the mausoleum and the grave of the great leader and the founder of North Korea - Kim Il-sung. The palace was built in 1976. For many years, it was the residence of Kim Il-sung. When North Korea’s leader died on July 8, 1994, his son ordered to transform the palace into his father’s memorial complex. Tourists are allowed to visit the palace, but they need to be dressed formally to be allowed to enter. All belongings must be left in the reception before the entrance. Visitors are also allowed to have a wristwatch. During a promenade in the corridors of the palace, visitors listen to the biography of Kim Il-sung.
Attendees pass a large hall with the armor-plated railway carriage that North Korea’s leader used many times to travel. Nearby, there is a map with all the routes and countries that Kim Il-sung visited during his life or the destinations that he was planning to visit. In the last hall, there is a car of the legendary leader. The vehicle, which is still in pristine condition, stands on a marble base. This is a Mercedes-Benz 600 car. The area surrounding the palace is no less spectacular. A big canal with graciously swimming swans ads a touch of elegance to the memorial complex.
Are you a fan of art? There is an art gallery on the square named after President Kim Il-sung. The gallery was established in 1954. The venue is eleven thousand square meters large and consists of twenty-two halls, each of which is dedicated to a different theme. Besides them, there is a small pavilion that exhibits paintings by the most prominent artists of North Korea. During a visit to the art gallery, you will be able to see wonderful frescos that date back to the 4th century. They were discovered during the excavations of the ancient tombs. Moreover, there are many fabulous sculptures and artworks of modern days.
Young visitors to Pyongyang will find it very interesting to attend the local zoo. This cute park and shelter for different animals opened in 1959, during the reign of Kim Il-sung. Nowadays, the city zoo has become home to more than five thousand different animals. In total, more than six hundred and fifty different species live here. In comfortable cages, visitors can see giant elephants and dangerous tigers, majestic lions and slender jaguars, sleepy lemurs, clumsy bears, and lazy hippos. Finally, there is a big aquarium in the zoo, so visitors can see various fish and aquatic animals here.
It is not possible to fly directly to Pyongyang from most countries of the world. The most comfortable way is to fly to Beijing and then take a flight to the capital of North Korea. There are several flights a week to Pyongyang. There is also a train from Moscow that has several carriages that go to North Korea. The journey time is roughly six days, and the train passes the territory of China.