Friday, October 16, 2009

Work Resumes on "Worst Building in History"

Reports from North Korea are that work has now resumed on the Ryugyong Hotel after a mere 16 year break in construction. Conceived as the signature piece of Pyongyang's skyline, when (or if) completed, the Ryugyong Hotel will stand 1,083 feet tall with 105 stories, including an eight-story rotating section near the top slated to house a restaurant.

The pyramid shaped building has also been dubbed by one magazine "the worst building in the history of mankind." (Other nicknames include the "Hotel of Doom" and the "Phantom Hotel" in the belief it will never actually be finished) The Ryugyong is colossally ugly, it looks something like a giant lawn dart standing on end, but check out the picture to judge for yourself. And in addition to being incredibly ugly, the Ryugyong has also been incredibly expensive to build, cost estimates have been at three quarters of a billion dollars, 2% of North Korea's entire Gross Domestic Product. The main reason the Ryugyong lay fallow for so many years is that the North Koreans simply had no money to continue its construction.

But now an Egyptian firm, Orascom Telecom, has stepped forward to fund the completion of the Ryugyong - apparently part of a deal to also build a wireless 3G network in North Korea (Orascom is obviously banking on the day when North Korea is no longer an international pariah state). For their part, North Korea seems interested in finally getting the hotel finished as part of the preparations for 2012 - the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, their founding father and actual father of North Korea's current leader, Kim Jong Il.
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