ABC, 123, all the branches of the learning tree at the largest of North Korea's school children palaces.
Mangyongdae Children's Palace
The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace (만경대학생소년궁전 | 萬景臺學生少年宮殿), otherwise referred to as the Mangyongdae School Children’s Palace, is a public facility where North Korean students can engage in extra-curricular activities. It is located in Pyongyang, North Korea, and managed by the Korean Children's Union (조선소년단 | 朝鮮少年團).
In our country, children are the kings of the country.
History and Design
President Kim Il Sung once remarked that "...children are the kings of the country". As a result, most North Korean cities have a local "schoolchildren's palace" devoted to the education of future generations. The first schoolchildren's palace in the DPRK was established in Kaesong. Pyongyang has two schoolchildren's palaces: the centrally located Pyongyang Children's Palace the Mangyongdae Children's Palace.
The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace was established on 2 May 1989 in the lead up to the 13th Festival of World Youth and Students. Since establishment, the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace has been open to children from elementary school through high school wishing to engage in extra-curricular activities.
It is the largest palace in North Korea that is dedicated to children’s extra-curricular activities. The building is impressive both on the inside and the outside. It has 120 rooms, a swimming pool, gymnasium, library, and a 2,000 seat theatre that holds regular performances. It is comprised of a central building with two wings said to resemble the outstretched arms of a mother.
In front of the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace, there is a large sculpture and two fountains that stand at an impressive 90 and 100 meters high. The interior of the School Children’s Palace is designed clearly for children. It has both aspects of typical North Korean architecture, and typical colours and fun designs to appeal to the children.
Upon walking through the main entrance of the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace, you will be treated with a large hall with high ceilings. This palace is different to many others in North Korea, however, due to the playful decorations for the children. It is very colourful inside, and there are many decorations including a large world globe. When you walk in, you will be on the ground floor, however if you look down you will see that there is also a basement open-plan floor with lots going on too!
The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace was recently refurbished.
Activities in the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace
Individual rooms in the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace house "small groups" (소조 | 小組) dedicated to a particular extra-curricular activity. "Small groups" are the North Korean equivelent of after-school programmes. Extra-curricular activities here include:
*Playing music — there are a variety of instruments and music rooms, including the traditional Korean kayagum and the ever popular accordion.
*Dance — both modern and traditional
*Science and technology, such as computing skills, programming, chemistry, astronomy, and mathematics.
*Traditional arts such as calligraphy, embroidery, and painting.
*Sports, such as Taekwondo, swimming and water ballet, volleyball, football, and ping-pong.
* The building of the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace itself is pretty impressive. But don’t let this distract you from what’s going on behind all of the doors! Go during a busy time and take a look at the children practicing various skills in the various different rooms.
* The best time to visit is just before a performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace. These are held every Tuesday and Thursday and are a way for children to practice their skills. Foreigners may attend these performances, but it is best to go beforehand so you can have a look around.
Location and Access
The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace is situated on Kwangbok (Liberation) Street, in the north of Mangyongdae District. It is easily accessible by car, taxi, or bus.
You can pay a visit to the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace on most of our trips to North Korea, or pay a visit on an independent tour with an itinerary designed just for you. What else can you do and see in North Korea? Download our free 75-page guide to the country for a full list. Stay up to date on all things North Korea at the Koryo Tours Blog.