Pyongyang's iconic hammer, sickle, and writing brush
Monument to Party Founding
The Monument to Party Founding, more commonly known as the Party Foundation Monument (당창건기념탑 | 黨創建紀念塔) is located in Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK). The monument is made up of a massive granite hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush — symbols of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK), the ruling party of North Korea — and surrounded by a belt that reads in Korean:
The organizers of the victory of the Korean people and the leader of the Workers Party of Korea!
These three symbols represent the core classes represented by the Workers Party of Korea. The hammer and sickle symbolize the worker and farmers of ‘traditional’ communist ideology, while the calligraphy brush represents the intellectual class.
The inclusion of the intellectual class into the Workers’ Party of Korea is reflective of the role of prominent Korea intellectuals, including the linguist and scholar Kim Tu Bong, in the creation of the the party and early DPRK state as well as the traditional value of learning in Korean society.
The Monument to the Party Founding was opened on 10 October 1995 (Juche 84) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
It was built on the instruction of Kim Jong Il.
The Monument to Party Founding was designed by the Paektu Architectural Academy and constructed by the Mansudae Art Studio, who are the producers of many important monuments both in Korea and internationally. It is made from both granite and bronze to represent the diversity of the Korean people.
Deep symbolism and numerology permeate the design of the Party Foundation Monument and the monument often appears in North Korean music videos about the leaders and the party.
Symbolism and Design
*The belt is made of 216 blocks and has an inner diameter of exactly 42 meters. This is no coincidence! General Kim Jong Il was born in 1942 on 16th February (1942.02.16).
*The Party Foundation Monument is exactly 50 meters high. This symbolises the 50th anniversary for the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea for which it was built.
*The circular foundation upon which the Party Foundation Monument sits is 70 meters in diameter. This symbolises the 70-year history of the revolutionary struggle from 1925, when Kim Il Sung left home for Manchuria to embark on the ‘Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle’.
* The three bronze images on the inside of the belt symbolise the roots of the party during the ‘Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle’; the unity of the leaders, party, army, and the people; and contribution of the Workers’ Party of Korea in the world revolution.
*Water fountains, walk ways, and wooded park surround the monument arranged in an orderly fashion in ‘one direction’ radiating from the monument. This park represents the party and the people unison around the spirit and instructions of the leaders.
*Below is a North Korean video about the monument and its creation.
*There are two buildings located behind the Party Foundation Monument. These are apartment buildings, and were built to represent the shape of flags. Both have Korean wording on the top. The writing on the building to the left means ‘100 battles’ and the writing on the building to the right means ‘100 victories’ (백전백승 | 百戰百勝) — together these mean ‘ever victorious’ and is a common epithet of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
*During the 1940's the area was the site of the Pyongyang's airport and home of the Japanese 6th Air Regiment. This airfield was presumably destroyed during the Korean War. Pyongyang's modern airport is located in the suburb of Sunan, about 25 km north of the city. There is still an airfield in East Pyongyang located at Mirim, further east from the old 1940's location. The Mirim field is used by the military and for small pleasure flights around the city.
*During a visit to the Party Foundation Monument you can also visit the art gallery, known as the Pyongyang Cultural Centre (평양문화전시관 | 平壤文化展示館) situated behind the monument. Here you can find works from the Mansudae Art Studio and rarely before seen photographs. You can also buy the artwork, souvenirs, and books here.
*The monument is illuminated at night. It is worth stopping briefly to take photos if you are in the area during the evening.
Location and access
You can find the Party Foundation Monument on Munsu street in the Taedonggang District in East Pyongyang on the right bank of the Taedong River. The monument was built on the site of Munsu Square. It is just a short walk away from the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition hall and the skate park.
It stands directly in line with the Mansu Hill Grand Monument, the two large bronze statues of the leaders President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il. It is located exactly 2.16km away from the Mansu Hill Grand Monument. This symbolises the birthday of Kim Jong Il — February the 16th, or 02/16.
This central location makes it a popular spot for mass dances on national holidays.
You can pay a visit to the Party Foundation Monument on most of our trips to North Korea, or on an independent tour with an itinerary designed just for you. What else can you see in North Korea? Download Koryo Tours' free 75-page guide to the country for a full list and follow the Koryo Tours Blog for in-depth descriptions.
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