Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tourism in the DPRK

Of late, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is under the limelight of sightseeing enthusiasts around the world.

Abundant tourist resources

The DPRK, located in the central part to the east of Asia and called from long ago the “land of morning calm” and “a country of scenic beauties”, is rich in natural resources for tourism.

In the northern tip of Korea stands Mt. Paektu, which is 2,750 m high and capped with snow all the year round, boasting of its grandeur spectacle. On its top is Lake Chon, a famous crater lake which is 384 m deep and 9.16 in area and has huge volume of water of 1 955 million. It is known as the world’s largest lake found in mountains. Mysterious and supernatural phenomena can be found in Mt. Paektu from time to time. Sometimes, sudden waterspouts take place on the placid Lake Chon. Sometimes, heavy rains and snowfalls pour down the Lake but, in an instant, the sky gets clear, a rainbow hanging there.

The Mt. Paektu area is registered as an international biosphere reserve for fantastic rocks of myriad shapes and wide varieties of fauna and flora in primeval forests. While Mt. Paektu is noted for its strong and majestic “masculinity,” Mts. Kumgan and Chilbo on the east coast of Korea show off their beautiful and elegant “femininity.”

Mt. Kumgan presents waterfalls with cascading crystal-clear water, 12,000 peaks of fantastic shapes and Upper Phal (eight) Pools with a legend that fairies charmed by its picturesque scenery descended from Heaven to take a bath and have a pleasant time there.

Mt.Chilbo, too, is no less than Mt Kumgan as it has many scenic spots including natural lakes, hot springs, myriad-shaped peaks, seascapes and the like.

Mts. Myohyang and Kuwol in the western area of Korea are also tourist destinations. All scenic places and spots in the DPRK preserve their natural beauty and are free from any environmental pollution, thus thrusting themselves into the limelight of tourists.

Korea with a 5,000-year-long history and cultural traditions has lots of ancient historic remains and relics. Pyongyang has many ruins of castles, royal mausoleums, gatehouses and other relics as it had been the capital of Ancient Korea, the first state of the Korean nation established 5,000 years ago and Koguryo (277 BC-AD 668), “a l 000-year powerful state in the East.”

On the outskirts of Pyongyang are the Mausoleum of King Tangun, father of the Korean nation over 5,000 years ago and the Mausoleum of King Tongmyong, founder of Koguryo. Many tomb murals in the period of Koguryo, including the Three Tombs in Kangso in the vicinity of Pyongyang which have been put on the UNESCO World Heritage list, remain fadeless even after thousands of years, arousing the curiosity of tourists.

The Complete Collection of Buddhist Scriptures, the world’s oldest one, and 80,000 wooden blocks used in printing them are kept in the History Museum in Mt Myohyang. Kaesong which was the capital city of Koguryo (918-1392), the first unified state of the Korean nation has many historic remains.

Manwoltae, site of the royal palace, Koryo Songgyungwan ,one of the oldest universities in the world, Mausoleum of King Wang Kon, founder of Koryo, Mausoleum of King Kongmin, resembling a museum of stone sculptures, Ryongthong Temple, once reputed as a mecca of Buddhism, and residential quarters preserving shapes of dwelling houses of Koreans in the Middle Ages.

There are many monumental structures showing the development of modern Korea. In Nampho area, not far from Pyongyang is the West Sea Barrage, outmeasuring four times the dam of the world-famous Rance Power Plant in France. In Pyongyang there are many spectacular and magnificent structures rare to be seen in the world, including the Tower of the Juche Idea (170 m), the highest stone tower in the world, the Arch of Triumph, the Party Founding Memorial Tower and the Chollima Statue.

The May Day Stadium built on an islet in the centre of the Taedong River is attracting tourists for its shape resembling a large flower or a parachute. Such unique Korean-style buildings as the Grand People’s Study House, the People’s Palace of Culture, the Pyongyang Grand Theatre and Okryu Restaurant are drawing the attention of tourists.

Perfect conditions for tourism

Tourism is actively encouraged in the DPRK.

Of late, the Kaeson Youth Park has been splendidly reconstructed in Pyongyang, known as “a city in a park” and “a city free from pollution.” At present, the construction of the Pyongyang Folklore Park which will present both the past and the present of the Korean nation is under way.

The Okryu Restaurant on the bank of the Taedong River serves not only famous Korean dishes including Pyongyang cold noodles but other famous dishes prepared from sturgeon and terrapin . Restaurants serving Italian and other foreign foods are enjoying growing popularity in several parts of Pyongyang. One can taste Pyongyangju, a famous liquor of Korea with suave and unique flavour.

Korean leader Kim Jong Il pays deep attention to the development of tourism. Going round the updated pleasure grounds in Mt Myohyang, the Kaeson Youth Park at the foot of scenic Moran Hill, Majon Hotel and Hyangsan Hotel and other places last year and this year, he took measures to facelift the scenic spots of the country more beautifully and provide best conveniences to tourists.

The long-standing unstable situation prevailing in the region, an issue of apprehension for many tourists, has also been removed. The DPRK has provided itself with a strong and reliable war deterrent, thus fully securing peace and stability in this region.

The DPRK, which has been regarded by the world community as a country in the East veiled in mystery, always opens its door to everyone for free sightseeing.

Image: Pagyon Falls

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