THE GUIDE TO NORTH KOREAN SECRETS: 100 RARELY BEFORE SEEN PHOTOS OF NORTH KOREA
By William Dunleavy
Superchief Managing Editor
As I explained in Part 1, I realized that those little squares on Google Earth were geo-tagged photos all along the North Korean border with China. Some of the photos seem to have been taken from the Chinese side of the border, and others may have been taken by those brave and curious enough to venture inside.
Either way, they are some of the most unique glimpses inside the secret state of North Korea I have ever seen. Considering the fact that lots of these photos were automatically mapped with Chinese captions, this is going to be the first time many people in the western world have ever seen them.
Below are 100 of the most compelling images I found through hours of searching around maps of North Korea. They are broken into three sections: First, photos taken along the Chinese border. Second, photos taken from the South Korean border, and then photos that were somehow taken well inside the borders of North Korea.
It’s difficult to find conclusive information to contextualize them, as I can’t read the Chinese and Korean captions at the source locations. For additional images taken inside North Korea I recommend the following documentaries:
PHOTOS OF NORTH KOREA FROM THE CHINESE BORDER
North Korea has many “propaganda cities” along its border, especially with South Korea. The function of these places is to lead foreigners to believe that the nation is pleasant and consciously isolating itself from outside contamination. The testimony of escaped North Koreans raised on this mythology, however, is contradictory.
Further along the Yalu River, just south of the Ferris Wheel facade in Sinŭiju, a Chinese photographer was able to capture a starkly different image of North Korea.
Hyesan has lumber processing mills, paper mills and textile mills. Since the North Korean economic crisis that intensified in the mid-1990s the city has suffered from economic stagnation and some factories in the city are closed. Reports and pictures taken from the Chinese side of the river show a “Ghost City”: there is almost no movement in the streets and in the night the city is dark and doesn’t have electricity. Residents of the city reputedly wash their clothes in the river because homes have no running water.
PHOTOS OF NORTH KOREA FROM THE SOUTH KOREAN BORDER
The 38th parallel marks the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the line where the Korean War came to a standstill. North and South Korean guards stand on their respective sides of the official crossing twenty-four hours a day. The border is 160 miles long and still completely lined with barbed wire and landmines from the Korean War. It is under constant surveillance from both sides, and nearly impossible to cross.
The appearances along the border are part of an all-present ‘psychological war’ between the north and south. South Korea recently received threats from the North about Christmas lights they planned to put on their border, which would be visible to citizens of the north.
In their side of the propaganda war, North Korea built the world’s third-tallest flagpole- flying a North Korean flag over the city of Kijŏng-dong. (Pictured below)
Photos Taken Inside North Korea
Continued in Part III:
How to Visit North Korea (Coming soon)