The rocky history
of the Ryugyong

The story behind the tallest unoccupied building in the world — The Ryugyong Hotel.

The construction of the monolithic Ryugyong Hotel started in 1987 and was intended to be completed in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in June 1989. However it remains incomplete and for the time being remains the tallest unoccupied building in the world.

Construction of the foundations circa 1987. The tall building in the background is an apartment building of the same era.

The phoenix rises

Lifts were originally planned to run up on the edges of the building.

Construction ceased in 1992 and it remained an unclad concrete structure until 2008. The Daily Mail called the building ‘The Hotel of Doom’ whereas we saw it as a more impressive building than The Shard!

With the help of the Egyptian company Orascom (always good with pyramids) the outer cladding of the hotel was started in 2008 and completed in 2011. The entrance driveway was completed in 2018. The Ryugyong Hotel now awaits interior fitting. Originally it was intended to have five revolving restaurants, but now there are now only two planned. Korea Tours' Simon Cockerell and Hannah Barraclough were allowed to the top of the tower in 2012 and still remain the only foreigners have reached the dizzying heights.

Main image credit: Carl de Keyzer.

Back to blog | + 86 10 6416 7544
27 Bei Sanlitun Nan (East Courtyard).
Chaoyang District. Beijing 100027. P.R China

中国北京市朝阳区北三里屯南 27 号 (东侧院),
Download contact card