North Korea’s dogged pursuit of totalitarian dictatorship, political withdrawal from the global community, its antagonism towards the US, and suppression and abuse of its own populace has made the country one of the most isolated and least explored in the world. P’yŏngyang is the largest city and the political capital of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). It is also believed to be the oldest city in Korea.
P’yŏngyang is located in the west-central region of North Korea. The North Korean capital is spread on both banks of the Taedong River at a distance of about 30 miles from the Korean Bay of the Yellow Sea. According to the 2008 census, the city has a population of about 2,581,076.
Censorship and restrictions are the very essence of life in North Korea. Not surprisingly, only a handful of privileged citizens are allowed to live in the capital city. The sprawling urban settlement is built almost entirely of white and grey stone with wide streets and towering monuments. Visitors are not allowed to move through the city freely and only pre-approved guided tours of its sights are permitted.
Mansudae Grand Monument – a grand statue of Kim Il, the Kim Il Sung Square with its Grand People’s Study House, the Koguryo Tombs, the Former Residence of Mangyongdae, the Arch of Reunification, the Tower of the Juche Idea, the Triumphal Arch, and the Kim II Sung Stadium are all among the approved sights for visitors in the North Korean capital city.