Friday, July 18, 2008

North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel

Esquire called this unfinished 105-story hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea the "worst building in the history of mankind." Why? "Even by Communist standards, the 3,000-room hotel is hideously ugly," wrote Eva Hagberg in January. Construction on the Ryugyong Hotel started in 1987 and was halted in 1992 amid rumors that the building was poorly engineered (and hence unsafe). But it may just be that the government ran out of money.



Good news: construction is starting again. Reuters is reporting that an Egyptian group called Orascom is doing some work on the top floors, installing telecom antennas. South Korean sources estimate that it would cost $2 billion to finish the building though. Part of the reason construction had stopped in 1992 may have been the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was helping to fund it.

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