'Jurassic Park!' -Alan Partridge
On the Pyongyang-Kaesong highway between the county-seats of Pyongsan and Kumchon is a strong contender for the DPRK's No.1 roadside attraction: a set of dinosaur foot prints and plant fossils.
Located on the east side of the highway, this site is accessible when heading north. Usually by this time everyone on the bus is asleep, after a visit to Kaesong and the DMZ, but it is well worth waking people up to see this bit of pre-historic fun. After all, what is a vacation without roadside attractions?
Housed inside a white plaster building, the main set of footprints were discovered in January of 1990 during road maintenance. The footprints are thought to date back to 80-100 million years ago, which actually makes them from the Cretaceous Era (65-145 million years ago). 'A ha!'
When you enter the small hall, there is a foreign dinosaur documentary dubbed in Korean about the end of the dinosaur age that you can watch before heading to the back of the building where the footprints are on display. Take the time to examine the classic science and dinosaur paintings. My favourites are the hand-painted timeline of the universe, starting with the Big Bang and ending with the penultimate masters of the universe, man (or should I say 'He-man'?), and one of some happily swimming dinosaurs.
The original discovered track was about 100 meters long, 15 meters wide, and at a 20 degree slant, emerging from a rock face. The tracks are thought to have been left behind by two dinosaurs, an adult and baby, walking together. Only part of the track is on display.
At the time of impression, much of what is today western Korea from Sinuiju through Pyongyang and Sariwon on to Pyongsan and Kumchon, would have been a series of lakes, rivers, and swamp lands, ripe for laying down sedimentary deposits and fossils. Later geologic upheavals lifted and twisted these formations out of their original positions. Along the highway, you can see evidence of such metamorphism. Metamorphic marble is also mined in the region.
Outside of the hall, there are some more footprints on display, supposedly from a flying dinosaur, as well as some fossil plants.
This small attraction is an interesting place to stop for 10 minute leg stretch on the drive back to Pyongyang. The entry fee is nominally $2 per person. For large groups, it is possible to pay $1 per person.
Turn Back the Clock Thursday' brings you views from more than two decades of Koryo Tours' trips and adventures