Once Upon a Time in Pyongyang

Alexander Yao
17 64 팔로워
Three young girls play on the steps of a building. At the turn of the 20th century, Christian missionaries opened girls' schools, granting Korean women access to modern education for the first time. When the Korean Peninsula split in 1945, the North applied communist principles of gender equality, placing a particular emphasis on the participation of women in economic production -- an approach that is still taken today.

Three young girls play on the steps of a building. At the turn of the 20th century, Christian missionaries opened girls' schools, granting Korean women access to modern education for the first time. When the Korean Peninsula split in 1945, the North applied communist principles of gender equality, placing a particular emphasis on the participation of women in economic production -- an approach that is still taken today.

A man walks along a Pyongyang sidewalk.

A man walks along a Pyongyang sidewalk.

A woman works at a textile loom. Then and now, North Korea's economy has relied heavily on its textile industry, which is responsible for one of the country's primary exports. Like many industries, it has suffered as a result of the country's isolation; the European Community, for example, has strict quotas and bans on the importation of North Korean textiles.

A woman works at a textile loom. Then and now, North Korea's economy has relied heavily on its textile industry, which is responsible for one of the country's primary exports. Like many industries, it has suffered as a result of the country's isolation; the European Community, for example, has strict quotas and bans on the importation of North Korean textiles.

A young girl stands with a baby strapped on her back.

A young girl stands with a baby strapped on her back.

Over 80 percent of the country is covered in mountains, which play a prominent role in North Korea's past and present political mythology. The country's isolation and lack of development have left many of these peaks largely unexplored, prompting Lonely Planet to extol the untouched beauty of the North's "vast tracts of virgin forest, abundant wildlife, lonely granite crags, fresh springs, gushing streams and dramatic waterfalls."

Over 80 percent of the country is covered in mountains, which play a prominent role in North Korea's past and present political mythology. The country's isolation and lack of development have left many of these peaks largely unexplored, prompting Lonely Planet to extol the untouched beauty of the North's "vast tracts of virgin forest, abundant wildlife, lonely granite crags, fresh springs, gushing streams and dramatic waterfalls."

Farmers sit in a field with their team of oxen. Under colonial rule, North Korea's agriculture production was directed toward supporting Japan's food supply. Today, the country -- which is less than 25 percent arable land -- depends on farming for much of its food supply. Members of the North Korean army are even required to serve as farmers. According to one defected soldier, "North Korea can't farm without the army.… The North Korean army's main job is malnutrition eradication."

Farmers sit in a field with their team of oxen. Under colonial rule, North Korea's agriculture production was directed toward supporting Japan's food supply. Today, the country -- which is less than 25 percent arable land -- depends on farming for much of its food supply. Members of the North Korean army are even required to serve as farmers. According to one defected soldier, "North Korea can't farm without the army.… The North Korean army's main job is malnutrition eradication."

A man dines on a traditional Korean meal, composed of small dishes and rice. Prior to the Japanese occupation, the peninsula was divided into administrative provinces that largely retained regional cuisines. Today, the food around Pyongyang consists of grains and meat dishes designed for enduring the country's notoriously harsh winters. Food shortages are common in the Hermit Kingdom due to mismanagement and a lack of arable land.

A man dines on a traditional Korean meal, composed of small dishes and rice. Prior to the Japanese occupation, the peninsula was divided into administrative provinces that largely retained regional cuisines. Today, the food around Pyongyang consists of grains and meat dishes designed for enduring the country's notoriously harsh winters. Food shortages are common in the Hermit Kingdom due to mismanagement and a lack of arable land.

Men gather under the Seven Star Gate, or Chilsong Gate. The name refers to the Big Dipper constellation, which points to the North Star -- signifying the gate's northern orientation. In the early 20th century, parts of the ancient city were razed to make way for electric-car lines, but many of the gates were preserved as historical monuments. The shots that marked the start of land-based battles in the Russo-Japanese War were fired from the top of this gate.

Men gather under the Seven Star Gate, or Chilsong Gate. The name refers to the Big Dipper constellation, which points to the North Star -- signifying the gate's northern orientation. In the early 20th century, parts of the ancient city were razed to make way for electric-car lines, but many of the gates were preserved as historical monuments. The shots that marked the start of land-based battles in the Russo-Japanese War were fired from the top of this gate.

A man rides a donkey in front of a barren landscape and wears a traditional Korean hat called a gat. Typically made from horsehair and bamboo, these hats date from the Choson dynasty before the Japanese occupation and were traditionally worn to signify rank.

A man rides a donkey in front of a barren landscape and wears a traditional Korean hat called a gat. Typically made from horsehair and bamboo, these hats date from the Choson dynasty before the Japanese occupation and were traditionally worn to signify rank.

A man catches fish on a frozen river. Trout soup from the Taedong river is a typical Pyongyang dish, and ice fishing from frozen rivers during Korea's cold winter remains popular today. South Korea even holds an annual ice-fishing festival.

A man catches fish on a frozen river. Trout soup from the Taedong river is a typical Pyongyang dish, and ice fishing from frozen rivers during Korea's cold winter remains popular today. South Korea even holds an annual ice-fishing festival.

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