In a Nutshell: I was part of the first ever group of foreigners given access to all stations across both lines of the Pyongyang Metro. This may sound mundane, but the restricted Pyongyang Metro is surely among the most mysterious yet beautiful transit systems on earth. Each of its sixteen stations are unique yet ultra-nationalistic in theme, showcasing North Korea’s revolutionary history, goals and achievements to impressionable commuters through a series of mosaics, murals and monuments. It’s a lavish underground museum long shrouded by foreign conspiracy theory. Sensationalism aside, here is my journey in over sixty photos of the beating heart of Pyongyang, the Pyongyang Metro.
About: I’m Elliott. I’m the tour director at North Korea tour operator Uri Tours. I travel a lot myself, sometimes to the unusual, weird and wacky. Earth Nutshell is where I share my experiences. Interested in visiting North Korea for yourself? Shoot me an email at [email protected].
To set the scene, here’s a small video snippet descending to the platforms with the sound of revolutionary anthems booming from antique loudspeakers central to the escalator…
Well I looked into and got a gist of what that tour book said… That tour guide was fascinated because it actually told the truth about the country since you went there they confiscate them(North Korea: The Bradt Travel Guide)… So now the company is offering an ebook version so maybe it won’t get confiscated. how interesting he was able to read a book that was 100% true and told it like it was fascinating. We know there’s one North Korea walking around whose eyes have been opened as to how the outside world sees them cult of personality and all. 😛
The one burning question in my mind is what tour guide book was he reading what did it say about North Korea did it talk about all of the cult of personality please tell me the title of the book I would love to know.
It was the North Korea Bradt Travel Guide. I haven’t read it myself so feel free to investigate and report back!
You should check out the Moscow metro stations. This metro is clearly inspired by Moscow’s. Example: http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/moscow-metro-stations-david-burdeny/index.html
Damn you! I can’t stop reading and I have so much to get done!! Happy to have found you!!
I am i intrigued by the picture of the platform and tracks at Konsol station. Not sure if others have noticed, but I can’t seem to see the power rails which most metro trains draw their electricity from. A closer look at the photo (as well as other photos) suggests that they fixed power rails directly below the platform edge, instead of away from the platform. Most metro systems have power rails as far away from the platform edges as possible for obvious reasons. Seems like here aesthetics are higher in priority than safety. Bizzarre.
In Soviet Union subway systems, third rail is usually located out of sight, meaning under platform. Soviet Union also built grandiose stations. So, here you can see where exactly the influence came from.
Another great post. Did you have to be subtle taking so many close up shots of people? Or did people not seem to mind (other than death stares….)
Here in Los Angeles, we are currently buying Korean-made transit cars, and have been doing so for some years as we continue to rebuild our Metro system. Perhaps when we are done with some of the older ones, we can sell them to North Korea, so they don’t have to lie about them being Korean-made. …Well… they wouldn’t have to lie *as much*.
Thanks Elliot for you truly fascinating story. Been myself several times in South Korea and to the DMZ but you really give a great insight in this very closed coutry.
Thank you! This was an absolute gem. Beautiful pics of a hidden treasure and excellent descriptions had me along side you for this journey! The mystery of the Metro system has always had my interest, so again I thank you for sharing your experience with us!
Nobody smiles that’s sad, but great job Elliott, un saludo from Mexicali, Mexico.