North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ – the Ryugyong – has long been a topic of global fascination.
While the project was meant to be completed by the late 1980s, it ground to a halt in 1993 due to growing economic problems following the collapse of socialism in Europe and the Soviet Union.
As part of a deal to install a nationwide 3G cell phone service, Egyptian telecommunications firm Orascom subsequently restarted construction in 2008 by adding glazing to the skeleton structure following nearly two decades of exposure to the elements.
After the glazing was completed, Western tour firm Koryo Tours gained exclusive access to the top of the building, providing photos to the outside world for the first time.
Suggestions the building might soon open did not take long to emerge, with the Kempinski hotel group stunning the industry in November 2012 when Chief Executive Reto Wittwer revealed the German brand would be opening 150 rooms at the top of building.
But not long after that initial announcement, Kempinski told NK News that they had abandoned plans to open their hotel, citing issues with market entry.
While construction of a concrete access route towards the base of the tower was since completed in 2014, construction at the huge tower appears to have mostly stalled.
Small signs, however, have kept interest in the building alive.
Lights were visible in at least three rooms at the top of the tower in a video exclusively obtained by NK News in October 2016, and a wall blocking people from the concrete access route completed in 2014 was demolished within the past month.
What, then, will ultimately happen to the building? Only time will tell.
But a selection of photos taken in Spring 2017 show that despite its “white elephant” status, the surrounding area is hardly devoid of life.