Kim Il-sung Square
Korean Central History Museum
Korean Central History Museum is all rather tedious and predictable - a large number of exhibits about the North's struggle against...
Tower of the Juche Idea
On the other side of the Taedong River from Kim Il-sung Sq, this tower honours the North Korean philosophy of Juche, and was unveiled to...
Cinema, theatre and opera trips are possible (although rare), and while films, operas or plays aren't likely to be of a particularly...
Viennese Coffee Shop
Right in the centre of the city, just off Kim Il-sung Sq, is the recently opened Viennese Coffee Shop, a joint venture between Austrian...
Kim Il-sung Square information
Lonely Planet review
Pyongyang’s central square is where North Korea’s massive military parades normally take place. The plaza is ringed by austere-looking buildings: most impressive of these is the Grand People’s Study House , the country’s largest library and national centre of Juche studies, where any North Korean over 17 can come for free lectures.
With over 30 million books, finding what you want is inevitably quite a challenge – and you will be proudly shown the impressive system of conveyor belts that can deliver books in seconds. You’ll also normally visit a reading room, a classroom, the intranet room and a room full of late-‘80s cassette recorders.
Other buildings on the square include the Korean National Art Gallery , which is worth a visit to see the postwar North Korean socialist realist art collection. There are 14 rooms of prewar Korean art that are of very high quality too. There’s also the ho-hum Korean Central History Museum on the opposite side of the square. There’s a great view from the riverside bank across the Taedong to the Tower of the Juche Idea, where groups usually go to take photos. There’s also the Austrian joint venture Ryongwang Coffee Shop here, where you can get a decent cappuccino.