While North Korea has the reputation of being closed off to the rest of the world, while a repressive regime tries to control the people, North Korea is actually a country just like any other and can also be visited. Everyone there lives normal lives, and you will find many of the usual sites that any city would have: cafes, restaurants, bars, trains, parks, monuments, and so on. They have a very strong cultural identity, and there are many cultural and historical sites that one can visit to discover more about their rich culture. There are so many different events and attractions, you will forget all about the stereotype of isolated and closed off North Korea.
Important and Interesting facts about Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, sits in East Asia between Russia, China, and South Korea. The Sea of Japan borders North Korea in the east, with Korea Bay and the Yellow Sea in the west.
- Paektu, Baekdu, or Changbai Mountain is an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China. At 2,744 m (9,003 ft), it is the highest mountain of the Changbai and Baekdudaegan ranges. It is also the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula and in northeastern China. A large crater lake, called Heaven Lake, is in the caldera atop the mountain.
- Kijong-Dong is a propaganda city of North Korea that was originally built in the 1950s by Kim Jong Il’s father right on the border. It houses the world’s largest flagpole, complete with a 300lb North Korean flag.
- Every North Korean household and business is outfitted with a government controlled radio that cannot be turned off, only turned down.
- It’s not 2014 in North Korea. North Korea bases its calendar on Kim Il-Sung’s date of birth: 15 April 1912, not Jesus.
- North Korea is almost entirely government-planned, state-owned economy.
- North Korea has the world’s largest stadium. The Rungnado May Day stadium has more than 150,000 seats and houses the extravagant Mass Games.
- The Juche Tower (more formally, Tower of the Juche Idea) is a monument in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, named after the ideology of Juche introduced by its first leader Kim Il-Sung. Completed in 1982, the Tower is situated on the eastern bank of the River Taedong, directly opposite Kim Il Sung Square on the western side of the river to commemorate Kim Il-Sung’s 70th birthday.
- Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, formerly the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, and sometimes referred to as the Kim Il-sung Mausoleum, is a building near the northeast corner of the city of Pyongyang that serves as the mausoleum for Kim Il-sung, the founder and eternal president of North Korea, and for his son Kim Jong-il who succeeded him as the country’s ruler.
- North Korea has three “People’s Pleasure Grounds”. Pyongyang has three fun fairs, some with less than optimal rides and technology.
- Visiting Kim Jong-Il’s body is the country’s most popular attraction. Kim Jong-Il’s body is preserved in a glass tomb for anyone, including outside tourists, to see.
- After the Korean War, Joseph Dresnok crossed over the mine-laden border into North Korea. He met three other U.S. soldiers doing the same thing. However, Dresnok was the only one who chose to stay. He admitted, “I feel at home…I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.”
Cool, Funny and Fun Facts about Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- Idolatry in North Korea is such that it is second-nature for ordinary citizens to “rescue” portraits of Kim Il Sung before all else in the case of a house fire (there are even special bunkers for statues in case of war.
- Literacy in North Korea is defined by the ability to write “Kim Il-sung”.
- North Korea holds elections every five years in which the ballots list only one candidate, so votes swing, you guessed it, 100% for the leader.
- There are almost no working traffic lights. Although there may be some stop lights, many of them reportedly do not work and have been replaced by Police controlling the traffic.
- The country created their version of “Godzilla”. After seeing Godzilla, Kim Jong-Il wanted his own propaganda-laden masterpiece using none other than Shin Sang-ok.
- North Korean basketball has some crazy rules. Some include four-pointers (if a three-pointer never touches the rim) and points deducted for missed free throws.
Historical and Cultural facts about Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- The capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang, is an ancient city, its origin dating back to 1122 B.C. In that year, a Chinese-born scholar named Kija established a kingdom with Pyongyang as its capital. The city quickly became a center for agriculture and textile manufacturing.
- In 2008, the DPRK soccer team visited New Zealand to participate in the FIFA under-17 women’s World Cup, which they won.
- All teachers in North Korea in the 1990s were required to play the accordion – and that you need to pass an accordion test before getting your teaching certification.
- In the 1966 World Cup, North Korea national football team beat Italy 1-0 to gain a spot in the quarterfinals.
- Korean peninsula was divided into two occupied zones in 1945, with the northern bulk of the peninsular occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern portion by the United States. Create the separated Korean governments for the two occupation zones. One is ‘the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ in the North.
- The Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang was built to commemorate the Korean resistance to Japan from 1925 to 1945. It is the second tallest triumphal arch in the world, after Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico, standing 60 m (197 ft) high and 50 m (164 ft) wide.
- Among Korean garments, the women’s costume, which consists of chima (skirt) and jogori (blouse) and has a long history, is particularly graceful and beautiful. It is a costume with a typical Korean flavor.
- The usual diet of the Koreans consists of boiled cereals, soup, kimchi (pickled vegetables) and stew made of vegetables and meat.
- The custom of using boiled cereals as the staple food was established long ago because rice, foxtail millet and barley suitable for cooking have been grown in large amounts all over the country from early times.
- In accordance with the ethical teaching handed down from our ancestors, in Korea special emphasis is placed on filial piety. This includes supporting one’s parents with devotion, nursing one’s sick parents with care, and holding sacrificial rituals in memory of deceased parents. Great care is shown when choosing a wife for one’s son, as a dutiful daughter-in-law is supposed to pay great attention to the well-being of her parents-in-law, thus ensuring harmony within the family.