Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun

Monument in Pyongyang

Kim Il-sung’s residence during his lifetime, the Kumsusan Palace remained so after his death. North Koreans come here en masse to pay their respects to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, both of whom now lie embalmed in glass boxes. The palace is eerie, with bricked-in windows and a vast and empty plaza before it, and the entire experience is easily one of the weirdest you'll have in North Korea (which is quite an accolade).

To come here you'll need to be in Pyongyang on a Thursday or Sunday morning and dressed smartly (this means shirts, ties and trousers for men; there are no specific rules for women, but shorts or low-cut tops are no-go). You'll also have to go through airport-style security – you're allowed to take nothing with you – and pass along miles of slow red moving sidewalks and then be dusted off by both automatic shoe cleaners and a giant clothes-dusting machine to ensure no dirt is trampled into either viewing hall. Items on display include the train carriage where Kim Jong-il died, the Dear Leader's boat and a collection of his medals and cars.


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