- By Isaac Stone Fish
Isaac Stone Fish is associate editor at Foreign Policy. Previously a Beijing correspondent for Newsweek, he wrote stories on such subjects as the Dalai Lama’s effect on international trade, China’s love affair with rogue states, and crystal meth in North Korea. His articles have also appeared in the International Herald Tribune, the Economist, and the Los Angeles Times.
North Korea tour specialists Koryo Tours provide what seems to be the first photos in years of the inside of the Ryugyong, a 330 meter hotel that boasts the 5th most floors of any building in the world.
Construction started in 1987, when North Korea was relatively flush with cash from Soviet subsidies. Since then the building, by far the tallest in Pyongyang, has remained uncompleted, poking out of the skyline like a spaceship.(Esquire in 2008 called it “hideously ugly;” “the closest humans have come to building a Death Star;” and, rather uncharitably, “the worst building in the world.”)
The Ryugyong has been on the cusp of completion for decades; it still looks, well, unfinished — but the views of Pyongyang from the top (see last photo) are great, if you’re into that kind of thing.