Pyongyang

Pyongyang Smile

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Girls at Mansudae Fountain Park, Pyongyang – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Zoo

Located at the base of the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery, next to the Botanical Gardens, and serviced by the Rakwon Metro stop, the Pyongyang Zoo makes for a lovely visit. The Zoo is open daily, but weekends are an especially good time to visit as the zoo will be busy with locals on their day off, providing tourists with lots of relaxed opportunities to interact.

The zoo is nice by Asian standards. It is well stocked with most animals you would expect, and some surprises, such as sections for domestic cats and domestic dogs. Commonly found on most pens are signs describing how the animal on display was donated by Kim Jong Il. Opportunities to trot around the grounds on ponies and camels are available for those daring enough. The Pyongyang Zoo is not included on most itineraries, but a visit can be easily arranged provided available time in your itinerary.

Pyongyang Zoo Dog Pen

A lonly St. Bernard.

Pyongyang Zoo Dog Pen

Dalmatians donated by Kim Jong Il.

Pyongyang Zoo Dog Pen

Dalmatians donated by Kim Jong Il.

Pyongyang Zoo

Young Pioneers at bird cages.

Pyongyang Zoo

Pony cart rides.

Pyongyang Zoo

Pyongyang Zoo duck pond.

Pyongyang Vendor

Ice cream vendor.

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Pony rides.

North Korean Propaganda

Zoo construction site propaganda art.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Rungra Island Funfair

Most warmer month DPRK tour itineraries include a visit Pyongyang’s Kaeson Fun Fair – it has the biggest roller coasters and is centrally located next to the Arch of Triumph.  But other options for those looking for their adrenalin fix exist; next to May Day Stadium on Rungra Island  is the newly constructed Rungra Island Funfair and Pleasure Park.  The sprawling 100 hector complex actually comprises two separate amusement parks and a dolphinarium – unfortunately we missed the dolphin show on my visit.  The Kaeson Fun Fair may have the blockbuster rides, but the amusements at the Rungra Island Funfair are more surreal; check out the crazy mouse roller coaster and the Mexican sombrero ride in the pictures below:

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Rungra Island Funfair Pyongyang

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Folk Park

Ryugyong Hotel Model at Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Can’t get enough of the surreal Ryugyong Hotel (AKA the “Hotel of Doom“)?

At the newly opened Pyongyang Folk Park you can get up close and personal with a scale model Ryugyong Hotel as well as Pyongyang’s other famous landmarks and monuments.

The Korean Central News Agency of DPRK describes the park:

The Pyongyang Folk Park vividly showing the long history and time-honored culture of the Korean people was built in the area of Mt. Taesong.

The park consists of the district for comprehensive history education, district for the display of historic relics, modern district, folk village district, folk playing district, park district of Mt. Paektu and Mt. Kumgang and the management and operation district. It is an open-air history museum where visitors can see and experience at first hand the good qualities of the Korean nation and the genuine socialist national culture developing day by day.

The construction of the park greatly helps the Korean people, including and school youth and children, inherit and glorify the excellent tradition and brilliant culture of the nation.

A visit to the Pyongyang Folk Park costs a steep 14 Euros – at that price it might not be of interest to all tourists (remember there are no ATMs to replenish your cash supply), but I thoroughly enjoyed the site.  In addition to the  surreal collection of scale models of Pyongyang’s monuments, the park boasts a Korean geisha house where visitors can enjoy a traditional music performance and are served soju by young ladies in period costumes.  We also stumbled upon a film set and posed for pictures with actors in an anti Japanese revolutionary movie in the traditional village section of the park.  The site is also a popular place for wedding photos, which of course we were invited to pose in.

Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Model of Pyongyang’s Arche of Triumph and Mount Kumgang.

Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Model of the Party Foundation Monument.

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Soldier workers prep Mansudae Grand Monument.

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Model of Juche Tower.

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Models of Juche Tower and Arch of Triumph.

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Models of Juche Tower and Arch of Triumph.

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Model of Juche Tower.

Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Music at the Korean geisha house.

Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Music at the Korean geisha house.

Soju at Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Soju at the Korean geisha house.

Soju at Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Soju at the Korean geisha house.

Soju at Mini Pyongyang Folk Park

Korean geisha house.

North Korean Film Set

With North Korean actors on an Anti Japanese revolutionary film set at the Pyongyang Folk Park.

North Korean Film Set

North Korean actors on an Anti Japanese revolutionary film set at the Pyongyang Folk Park.

North Korean Film Set

North Korean actors on an Anti Japanese revolutionary film set at the Pyongyang Folk Park.

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North Korean wedding party.

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North Korean wedding party.

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My tour group poses with a North Korean wedding party.

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Bride and groom at the Pyongyang Folk Park.


Breaking News: The Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun has Reopened!

I have it confirmed from two sources that the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun/Kim Il-sung Mausoleum has reopened to tourists and will be available for all 2013 itineraries!

Group Photo with Colorful Korean women outside of the Kim Il Sung Mausoleum

Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun – photo by kinabalu


Pyongyang Arch of Triumph

Bigger is better in North Korea, and standing at 60 meters the Pyongyang Arch is the World’s largest triumphal arch – sorry Paris.

Pyongyang Arch of Triumph

As a gift from Kim Jong-il to Kim Il-sung for his 70th birthday, the arch has 25,500 blocks of white granite, each representing a day in his life up to that point – another equally impressive 70th birthday gift with the same sort of construction numerology is the Tower of the Juche Idea.

The arch was commemorated to highlight the 1925-1945 revolutionary struggles and victory over the occupying Japanese forces. Supposedly there are rooms and viewing pavilions but I have never been let inside or had a closeup look.


War Museum and the USS Pueblo Currently Closed

For those making a trip to the DPRK in the near future please be aware that the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo are currently closed. I only know that the Pueblo is being moved to a new location – it is advertised that both sites will be reopened this July.

USS Pueblo Guide

Touring the USS Puebo.

USS Pueblo Guide

Touring the USS Puebo.

Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

Tour of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

Tour of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Join up with my 2013 tours!

May 14th – May 23rd Mega Trip: Pyongyang, Nampo, Sariwan, Haeju, Kaesong, Wonsan, Kumgang, with possibility of a documentary film crew- spots available.

Late September/Early October: Mass Games tour with possibility of a documentary film crew – spots available.

I also expect to be helping out Young Pioneer Tours with their big November 2013 Eurasian Tour: Trans Siberian Express Beijing to Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, Chernobyl, Odessa, Transnistria, Moldova, and Romania.

For more info email me:
joseph@youngpioneertours.com
josephferris76@yahoo.com


The Wonderful Contradictions of North Korea

Gabriel Mizrahi of The North Korean Blog offers up the following Wonderful Contradictions of North Korea:

North Korea is a place of deep contradictions.

It confirms our worst fears with its nuclear belligerence, only to reveal its romantic folkloric past.

It confirms a taste for criminal delights – then seduces us with its unexpected charms.

Functioning cities are just a short bus ride from unimaginable prison camps. Those prison camps are only miles from the beautiful sights of Korean mythology, which tell of magical birthplaces and undead leaders who still rule.

These paradoxes make North Korea what it is. Here we present the wonderful contradictions of North Korea….

My favorite contradiction from the post:

North Koreans are generally kind, modest, humble people.

On the Streets of Pyongyang, DPRK

But they sure know how to party. It’s a huge part of the culture.

East meet West

Top photo by Joseph A Ferris III, 2nd photo by Andrew Lombardi.

Many more of my photos are used in the post – make sure to check it out in its entirety!


Pyongyang Film Studios

Film Studio Pyongyang, North Korea

Hanging out next to a South Korean brothel on ’60s street at the Pyongyang Film Studios.

From the Lonely Planet online guide – Some 20 films a year are still churned out by the county’s main film studios located in the suburbs of Pyongyang. Kim Il Sung visited the complex around 20 times during his lifetime to provide invaluable on-the-spot guidance, while Kim Jr has been more than 600 times, such is his passionate interest in films. Like all things North Korean, the two main focuses are the anti-Japanese struggle and the anti-American war.

The main complex is a huge, propaganda-filled suite of office buildings where apparently post-production goes on, even though it feels eerily empty. A short uphill drive takes you to the large sets, however, which are far more fun. Here you’ll find a generic ancient Korean town for historic films (you can even dress up as a king or queen and be photographed sitting on a ‘throne’ carpeted in leopard skin), a 1930s Chinese street, a Japanese street, a south Korean street (look for the massage signs that illustrate their compatriots’ moral laxity) and a fairly bizarre range of structures from a collection of ‘European’ buildings. Some groups have been lucky and seen films being made during their visit, although usually it’s hauntingly empty.

More pics from the Pyongyang Film Studio linked below.

(more…)


2012 Kimilsungia Flower Exhibition

Pyongyang Flower Expo

2012 Kimilsungia Flower Exhibition

Taking pictures of the military in the DPRK is officially forbidden, but never fear, during visits to special cultural/social events, and if lucky to be touring with one of the more relaxed North Korean guides, photography freedom with the men and woman of the North Korean military is likely to be allowed – one such place where we had freedom to mingle with the troops was the at the 2012 Kimilsungia Flower Exhibition.

The Kimilsungia is a hybrid cultivar of orchid originally created in Indonesia. Official North Korean accounts tell of how Kim Il-sung admired the orchid during a botanical garden tour while on a state visit to Indonesia. Upon his inquiries about the flower President Sukarno promptly informed Kim Il-sung that it was as of yet unnamed, but due to his already performed great exploits for the benefit of mankind, it was apparent the flower must be named the Kimilsungia.

The flower exhibition is highlighted by the many elaborate arrangements created by and gifted from the foreign embassies based in Pyongyang, as well as the numerous North Korean military units and domestic social institutions. The huge arrangements gifted from the armed forces are adorned with statues of guns, swords, tanks, and missiles. Other arrangements often highlight the history of Kim Il-sung with models of his birthplace or other important historical sites associated with his life.

I had relatively low expectations for the flower exhibition but ended up delighted by the many military arrangements on display, especially the ones with models of the controversial test missile, and most of my group agreed that having shared our visit with large numbers of military personnel made the Kimilsungia Flower Exhibition a highlight of the trip – It’s the randomness in which you get to mingle with the armed forces that makes a visit to North Korea so much fun, perhaps if we had made the visit the following day the exhibition would have been empty and the experience much less special.

Pyongyang Flower Expo

Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-sung Mural

Pyongyang Flower Expo

North Korean Soldiers at Flower Expo Pyongyang

Pyongyang Flower Expo

Soldiers Enjoy the Pyongyang Flower Expo

Pyongyang Flower Expo

Pyongyang Flower Expo

Pyongyang Flower Expo

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Soldiers Enjoy the Pyongyang Flower Expo

Soldiers Enjoy the Pyongyang Flower Expo

Soldiers Enjoy the Pyongyang Flower Expo

Pyongyang Flower Expo

Pyongyang Flower Expo

There is a separate Kimjongilia flower festival held each February during the birthday celebrations for Kim Jong-il. Neither the Kimjongilia or the Kimilsungia is the national flower of North Korea, that honor goes to the magnolia.

Someone in my group asked why the Kimilsungia was a smaller flower than the Kimjongilia, our North Korean guide simply said that that was not a wise question to ask……

All photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Visit to the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery on the 100th Birthday of Kim Il-sung

For the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung we were allowed to join members of the North Korean military and make a pilgrimage to the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery to pay our respects to the fallen fighters and leaders of the Homeland Liberation War (the Korean War as we know it) and the anti-Japanese revolutionary periods. Along a terraced hillside, each grave is adorned with a bronze bust of the fallen including Kim Jong-suk, first wife of Kim Il-sung, and Kang Pan-sŏk, mother of Kim Il-sung.

Photos of the military are generally prohibited in North Korea, but due to the importance of the event and sheer number of military personnel at the cemetery, our guides allowed us full photography freedom, although I was still chewed out by several over zealous guides working other groups. Photos from the visit posted below:

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Sailors at the Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Sailors at the Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations - Martyrs' Cemetery

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Taedong River Cruise

During our spring 2012 trip I arranged a private lunch and boat cruise along the banks of the Taedong River from central Pyongyang to its outskirts; our guides and boat crew seemed completely unconcerned about our photography (our guide Ms Han seemed just as fascinated by the cruise as we were). Below are some of the amazing shots of daily life and work on the Taedong River, North Korea:

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Local scene along the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

A worker and his dog on a river dredge.

USS Pueblo and Bucket Dredge

Bucket dredge working in front of the USS Pueblo.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Working on a river dredge.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Working on a river dredge.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Pipeline river dredge.

Taedong River 대동강 Dredge

Working on a river dredge.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Moving cargo off a river boat on the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Ship on the blocks on a Taedong River shipyard.

Military Wash North Korea

Soldiers doing their laundry on the river bank.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

A working rowboat on the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Locals fishing on the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Bridge and trams over the Taedong.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Recreational rowboats on the Taedong.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Recreational rowboats on the Taedong.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Recreational rowboats on the Taedong.

North Korean Guide Ms Han

A fascinated Ms Han takes in the river scenery.

North Korean Guide Ms Han

For anyone who wants to arrange a similar trip please make sure you negotiate the cost of the cruise beforehand, I was a bit surprised to be handed a 600 Euro bill 45 min. into the cruise.  I promptly had Ms Han turn the boat around and requested a recalculation for fuel saved for heading back early.  A few phone calls later our bill came out to about $20 per passenger, an entirely better deal and completely worth it for the experience – please note that a lunch on the boat while moored, i.e. no river cruise, is included with the cost of your tour, no extra fee expected.

All photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Kids Being Kids!

Children at play and out enjoying a sunny spring Pyongyang morning at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

Pyongyang Children

Pyongyang, North Korea Rollerblading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Pyongyang Rollerblading

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Smiles

During preparations for my first trip to the DPRK I watched all of the online documentaries I could find, from dreary hit pieces on the DPRK Government to over sensationalized video travel guides, and common to them all was the depiction of a sad, colorless, and lifeless North Korea.  But by coming to the DPRK myself I experienced something different; I found Pyongyang to be a clean, bright, colorful, and orderly city, with a people that smile, laugh, and despite the language barrier, interact with foreigners with a shy curiosity.

Sharing my pictures of the DPRK and its people is what this blog is all about. I’m trying to present a different perspective compared to the impressions put out there by the main stream media.  I don’t deny that there are human rights violations, but there’s already plenty of material out there to explore on those issues. Instead I wish to pass on what I observed during my travels in the DPRK: that despite the hardships and pressures the North Korean people endure (whatever they may be), they remain a very human people, and just like us they love life and share the simple hopes and dreams common to all humanity.

The people of Pyongyang smile – below are pictures taken during the festivities and celebrations for 100th birthday of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung - all photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

During the week of celebrations for the 100th birthday of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung, mass parades and celebratory gatherings were quite common.  These events were not normally open to foreigners, but often we got caught stuck in traffic jams as tens of thousands of people clogged the roads on their way home.  During these times our guides were gracious enough to let us interact with the people, here young boys wave and smile on their walk home.

Pyongyang Street Scene

Young girls laugh and smile while walking home from school.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Boys from a brigade of Young Pioneers enjoy an ice cream snack at a local park.

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Young girls smile while taking a break from an afternoon of rollerblading.

USS Pueblo Guide

Sharing a laugh with our guide on the USS Pueblo.

Pyongyang Subway

A cheerful Pyongyang Metro ticket attendant.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

A festive spirit pervades the crowds at a mass gathering in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

A festive spirit pervades the crowds at a mass gathering in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square.


North Korean Panda Bears Dance on Kim Il Sung’s Birthday

Young girls dressed in panda bear costumes relax between performances for foreigners at a folk fair held on the Day of the Sun, the April 15th, 2012 celebrations to honor the 100th year birthday of ‘Eternal President‘ Kim Il Sung.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

On this day there were many military parades and Kim Jong-un appearances throughout Pyongyang.  Unfortunately visiting foreign friends were not invited to these events, and to keep us out of the way, western tourists, dignitaries, and cultural delegations were bused to the city outskirts and conveniently sequestered at a park in the Mangyongdae district.  To keep everyone entertained, folk games and competitions (tug of war, three legged race, ect) had been arranged for the visiting cultural delegations.  Having traveled so far, and with expectations of seeing military parades, many of the tourists did not appreciate the situation – watching Eastern European and Russian delegations bob for apples was a big disappointment for most, but I really enjoyed the experience – not the international folk competitions, but all the interactions I had with the North Korean children who were at the event and enjoying themselves in such a relaxed atmosphere.  On arrival, little girls in traditional chosŏn-ot dresses grabbed us by the hand and led us into the park (they were fascinated with our bellies – notice the pokes!).  Hanging out, dancing, playing, and taking photographs with the North Korean children who were participating in the cultural dance performances made this event a cherished experience from the trip.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Apartments

Pyongyang Apartment North Korea

A view of typical housing arrangements in Pyongyang, North Korea – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Pop Gun – 2012

Back in the old days, North Korean citizens could vent their hate, frustrations, and propaganda whipped national fervor, by heading down to the local fun fair and testing their aim with a pop gun against posters and painting of the US boogieman soldiers and servicemen.  These days the anti US propaganda posters and paintings have all been taken down (at least where foreign tourists venture), but North Korean locals still enjoy going out to practice their aim at their local fun fair.

Pyongyang Street Games

Pyongyang, North Korea Games

Pyongyang Street Games

Pyongyang Street Games

2011 visit to the Pyongyang pop gun stand.


Girl with Local North Korean Currency

North Korean Girl with Currency

Portrait of a girl with local currency Pyongyang, North Koera- photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Traffic Girl Of The Month

I recently discovered that two of my pictures have the honor of being selected as the Pyongyang Traffic Girl Of The Month for May and June 2012 over at PyongyangTrafficGirls.com – it’s a fun little site that honors some of my favorite girls, check it out while my picture for June is still profiled up on their main page!

On the Streets of Pyongyang, DPRK

June 2012 Traffic Girl of the Month.

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

May 2012 Traffic Girl of the Month – photos by Joseph A Ferris III

And while messing around at PyongyangTrafficGirls.com I came across this absolutely precious kindergarten musical traffic safety skit.


North Korean Space Program

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

The North Korean space program?  No, just a mockup of a Soviet Russian Buran spacecraft at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace, Pyongyang, North Korea – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


A Bird’s Eye View of Pyongyang – Post #2

Pictures of Pyongyang, North Korea taken from the top of Juche Tower.

Pyongyang, North Korea

Monument to the Founding of the North Korean Workers’ Party.

Pyongyang, North Korea

East bank of the Taedong River, old Pyongyang City.

Pyongyang, North Korea

East bank of the Taedong River, old Pyongyang City.

Pyongyang, North Korea

East bank of the Taedong River, old Pyongyang City.

Pyongyang, North Korea

East bank of the Taedong River, old Pyongyang City.

Pyongyang Mansudae Housing Project

Pyongyang Mansudae housing project.

Kim Il-sung Square Pyongyang

Kim Il-sung Square Pyongyang.

All photos by Joseph A Ferris III


A Bird’s Eye View of Pyongyang – Post #1

Pictures taken from the top floors of the Yanggakdo International Hotel showing Pyongyang bathed in the light of sunset.

Pyongyang, North Korea

View of the famous Ryugyong Hotel.

Pyongyang, North Korea

Taedong River and the Juche Tower.

Pyongyang, North Korea

View of Pyongyang looking east.

Pyongyang, North Korea

View of Pyongyang looking east.

Pyongyang, North Korea

View of Pyongyang looking east.

Pyongyang, North Korea

River dredge on the Taedong.

All photos by Joseph A Ferris III


The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace

The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace, a place for the children of the privileged elite to spend time after school practicing sports, art, folk dance and music – and of course, show it all off with military like precision and forced smiles to groups of visiting foreign friends and tourists.

The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace is the largest of the many palaces in North Korea dedicated to Children’s after school activities. The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace has 120 rooms, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a 2000 seats theater. The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace is not to be confused with the Pyongyang Children’s Palace situated in the north of the Kim Il Sung Square and founded in 1963 – where I visited and saw a children’s performance last year.

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

A young girl opens a show for tourists and dignitaries at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace.  This was a special performance to commemorate the Day of the Sun, the 100th birthday of ‘eternal president’ Kim Il-sung.  Many more pics from this performance to come!


Return of the Pyongyang Traffic Girls – Picture Post

Brought back from their Sept. 2010 retirement, these April 2012 photos posted below show Pyongyang traffic girls performing their classic signal direction routine - photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

From a previous post:  To our delight, the traffic girls of Pyongyang were brought out of retirement to help deal with the massive traffic congestion, and perhaps to add a little more color to the city for ’Eternal President’ Kim Il Sung’s 100th year birthday celebrations.

On my first visit (summer 2011) we had been saddened to learn that the girls had been replaced by a modern traffic light system. They could still be seen on occasion, running roadside signal lamp switches, working road construction sights, or directing traffic during the frequent power outages, but we missed their famous directing routines performed at the main city intersections. I’m happy to report that this April they were back directing traffic throughout Pyongyang, and although I have no idea how long this will last, I got some great pics during this special opportunity and will be sure to have a follow-up post sharing the best of them! 

This is the follow-up picture post with those promised photos posted below!

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Remaining photos show the Pyongyang traffic girls performing their normal post retirement duties: cross walk safety overloading and manual light phasing – all from April 2012.

Pyongyang, North Korea Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girls

Pyongyang Traffic Girls

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl