A long-abandoned North Korean skyscraper meant to be the nation’s flagship hotel has stirred to life with a new high-tech feature: a 50-foot light display brightening the night sky.
The Ryugyong Hotel building, a 105-story behemoth in the center of Pyongyang, appears to have a new LED-lighted structure on its crown, according to photos obtained by the website NK News. Images show a screen broadcasting footage of the North Korean flag.
The Ryugyong has been a subject of fascination in Pyongyang for 30 years. Construction began in 1986 on what was meant to be one of the tallest structures in the world when it was opened. Instead, it sits in ignominy as the world’s tallest unoccupied building, according to Guinness World Records.
It was never finished, plagued by engineering problems (including crooked elevator shafts) and a lack of funding. Reports that the pyramid-shaped hotel was about to welcome visitors have persisted for years, yet it has mostly been unoccupied and dormant.
The North has said the building will eventually hold restaurants, offices and hotel rooms.
NK News reports that several projects have been undertaken this year, including the mysterious addition of the lighting panels and new nearby roads.
A delegation of K-pop stars have been in Pyongyang this week amid thawing tensions between the country and South Korea, performing for Kim Jong Un. He was reportedly “deeply moved” by the show, which he said deepened “the understanding of the popular art on the south side,” according to the state-run KCNA.