If you want to understand the mysteries of the North Korean culture and people, then exploring the Pyongyang subway is an activity not to be missed.
About the Pyongyang subway
The Pyongyang subway is the largest train system in North Korea, with two main lines: the Chollima line running north from Puhung station on the banks of Taedong to Pulgunbyol station, and the Hyoksin line running from Kwangbok station in the southwest to Ragwon Station in the Northeast. These two lines intersect at Chonu Station.
The number of daily passengers traveling by train is estimated to be between 300,000 and 700,000, so using this vehicle is a great opportunity for tourists to hear the local people talk about their daily lives during the trip.
Historical Pyongyang subway construction
Construction of the Pyongyang metro network started in 1965 with the Chollima 1 line, then the first six stations were built in 1968 and in 1973 opened to the public. By 1970, the construction of line 2, Hyoksin, was started and put into use in 1975.
In the early 70s and 80s, Pyongyang’s wagon locomotives were mainly designed and made by China in Beijing, but after 1997 imported subways from East and West Berlin, and by year In 2015, North Korea designed and assembled its own modern train to operate on the subway.
In particular, the construction of the entire Pyongyang subway project has a great deal of help from China. Typically, this country has sent experts to install electrical equipment in Tuong Dam and manufacture the 64-meter vertical escalator in Shanghai and then send it to North Korea for assembly.
However, the most regrettable thing when building this transport system was that in 1971, during the construction of the tunnel under the Taedong River for Ponghwa station, a major accident occurred that killed at least 100 workers. . Therefore, this particular tunnel was never completed.
Interesting things of the Pyongyang subway
1. Special location
The subway system in Pyongyang is one of the deepest in the world, with rails at a depth of more than 110 meters underground and without any track or station on the ground.
This depth helps keep the temperatures inside the train stations comfortably between 18 ° C and 20 ° C throughout the year, so the local Korean guides often say “this is cool local. in summer and warm in winter “.
Besides, the design of such depth is intended to be used as a shelter for the people from any possible attack on the city. The most obvious manifestation of this is the construction of 3 separate explosion shields behind the wall and ceiling covered with removable glass panels.
2. Architecture imbued with national spirit
The first impression when entering the subway stations in Pyongyang is that the space has a harmonious combination of ancient Greek architecture of giant marble columns, with modern European style such as: curved arches or full-color glass chandeliers that are both luxurious and striking.
However, the highlight here lies in murals, mosaics or statues bearing the artistic of socialist realism, with the same patriotism and respect for the great leaders of the nation.
Examples are murals such as: “Congratulations to our brilliant wise leader, Kim Il-Sung!”, “Celebrate the founding of the Korean Workers Party!”, “Day Victory over Japan “or” Hooray the liberation of women! “… are 30 to 80 meters long, with a combination of bright and harmonious colors, clearly showing pride and joy of the country.
Next to it were bronze plaques like: “Get out, US Army!” and “National Unity” is inlaid on the wall with meticulous and delicate details, clearly expressing the national spirit of the Korean people.
Not only that, the Metro subway in Pyongyang is also placed with spotless bronze statues bearing the image of President Kim Il-Sung, and is illuminated in the dim space of the station. passing can not help but not stop admiring.
Even, the naming of the stations must also follow the revolutionary feats in the process of liberating Korea from Japan after World War II and during the Korean War such as: Reunification, Rejuvenation, Glory, Victory, Golden Field, Red Star, Liberation and Construction … That is how great the national spirit of this “most mysterious country in the world” is.
3. Unique space inside the train
Although all the signs of the Berlin production of the carriages have been deleted and the train number has been changed, the remains of the graffiti cards have been scratched from their previous lives. in Germany are still visible on the walls and seats.
In addition, you can also see portraits of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong-Il framed thickly and placed on each train carriage of a North Korean subway train.
In addition, the carriages are equipped with LCD screens that display arrival information, and broadcast North Korean documentaries during the journey such as: growing apples in Kangwon province or making soap at home. Pomhyangi Cosmetic machine, … so that visitors can both get less bored and can understand more about Korean people and culture.
In particular, because normally people on the subway would not talk to each other, revolutionary national anthems, recordings or propaganda music would be played on each train to clear the quiet space.
4. There is a Metro museum
Not only a place to travel, the Pyongyang subway is also a pride of the Korean people, so people also built a museum in the tunnel to display memorabilia of great significance.
Entering here, visitors will witness the events that led to the opening of the subway train in 1973, images of President Kim Il-sung giving on-site instructions to system construction workers, as well as the train’s operations and future plans.
In addition, the Metro museum also contains a number of large-scale dioramas, such as a special mountain bike that the president used to get off a station under construction and a railway bus that he walked around. system. All of them carry very deep meanings.
Some note when using the Pyongyang subway
- The subway has quite close operation times, according to which there will be a train every 3 minutes at peak hours, while during normal days, it will run once every 5 minutes.
- This is the cheapest train in the world, with only 5 Korean won no matter how far you go, which means less than 1 US cent / ticket.
- Smoking and eating is prohibited inside the Pyongyang Metro system, if violating, it will be fined a large amount.
- Do not run, push, laugh in the subway space.
- If you want to know the routes to go, follow the Chollima line (in red) on the electronic board on the wall of the station.
- The escalator takes three and a half minutes from the ground to the platform.