Tower of the Juche Idea

View across the river

The Tower of the Juche Idea, a.k.a the Juche Tower, sits on the opposite side of Taedong river to the Kim Il-Sung Square. The tower is named after the ideology of Juche – a philosophy created by Kim Il-Sung. This is North Korea’s flavour of communism, mixed with self-sufficiency, nationalism and traditionalism.

We were first shown the outside of the tower where we could wander down to the bank of the river. In front of the tower is the Worker’s Party Monument. This is a sculpture consisting of three statues. Each statue shows the three main parts of society: intellectuals, farmers and workers. The intellectual holds a writing brush at the back, the farmer holds a sickle in the middle and the worker holds a hammer in front.

Our Korean guide explained that the worker was in the front because they were the most important when they built the sculpture. Now, he said, it’s the army that is most important.

Afterwards we went inside the tower. The first thing you see when you go into the tower is a wall full of plaques. Each plaque is from a different country’s Juche study group offering their support for the Juche Idea. We played the game of finding our own country.

Inside the tower there are a few paintings and photos of the Kim’s and a gift shop. You can pay to take an elevator to the top, and I recommend that you do. The tower’s position gives a great view of Pyongyang. You can see Kim Il-Sung Square and the Grand People’s Study House. You can also spot the statues of Kim Il-Sung and Jong-Il. In the distance you can see the unfinished Ryugong Hotel.

I noticed from the top were that the buildings behind the tower were symmetrical. This was no accident: the Koreans had planned this to make the tower look even more impressive from the other side.

We descended the tower and made our way to the bus, but not before stopping off at the gift shop of course.

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