North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel: Ugliest Building on Earth?
February 9, 2009 | by MDeeDubroff

It’s a rather dubious honor to be considered the ugliest of just about anything at all, but according to many, the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea appears to be the winner of the ugly building contest.

The Ryugyong Hotel with its 3,000 rooms has been described as a hideous and distorted version of a fairy-tale castle that dominates the city’s skyline and is so ugly that it is frequently air-brushed out of publicity shots of the city.

Construction began in 1987 (although no one knows why) but stopped in 1992. It is unlikely that it will ever be finished due to the fact that North Korea ran out of money and there is no tourist industry in the region.

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Ryugyong Hotel remains an eyesore that should not to be viewed after eating. There it stands and will for many years to come, unfinished, unwanted, and very, very… ugly!




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.
  • That’s not a building, it’s a spaceship. :)

  • Hey morons, do your homework. Construction resumed on the hotel as far back as April of last year.

  • Actually I think it’s kinda cool looking….

  • I don’t think it’s ugly at all. It’s nicely designed.

    • the building itself is very unique and has an appealing, "eye-catchiness" about it, but taken within the context of it's environment, it sticks out too much like the sore thumb and not enough like the woman in the red dress…

      Alpina Watches

  • Sure, a square building is so much more attractive.

    Give me a break!

    I applaud NK for the simple fact they thumb their nose at the rest of the world, starved 2 million to death in the 90′s, shoot people for saying bad things about KIS, bu yet they have the balls to construct a 105 story hotel. The reason it is taking so long is because Juche doesn’t believe in elevators.

  • I almost forgot – It looks like something the Mormons would build.

    • What Mormon building would that be? I’ve never seen them put up anything remotely like this.

      With the way the Socialist revolution in America is heading, we might have state-sponsored monstrosities like this popping up all over the place soon.

  • “According to many”, where “many” = “South Korean shills”, it seems.
    If this building was not in North Korea would this article even have been written?
    Seems some people are trying to take cheap shots at the only Asian nation that has any balls in the world, and isn’t bending over aks asking to be spanked by their American sugar-daddies.

    Nuclear bombs tend to create some ugly buildings, too. Maybe soon we’ll have a new contender for this dubious honor.

    • Well NK is trying to get that too.

    • its also a totalitarian state with a horrific record of human rights violations, locking up and sometimes publicly executing ten of thousands of "political prisoners", for crimes ranging from questioning the state, to making an international phone call. the people who live there are bombarded with propaganda from the state controlled media and aren't allowed to leave even if they wanted to…

      i'm not defending america, but don't jump on the NK bandwagon without the facts… douche.

  • do you think they’re compensating for something?

  • I wish you was sleeping right now, I knock you upside your head with a left hook make your ass wake up and take out that damn trash.

  • So, who’s going to stay in it? I’m sure the travel industry in North Korea is just booming.

  • Maybe it’s kinda ugly but the music it comes with is awesome!!!

  • LMAO looks like a giant ass prison!!

    ugly- 4/5 stars
    funny- 4/5 stars
    weird- 3.5/5 stars
    comfert- 0.5/5 stars
    wanna go to prison here? 5/5 stars

    please enjoy your stay ^_^

  • Good call, it probably could be used for a prison. In China, they are referred to as Black Jails, places like hotels (there are far too many for actual tourists to occupy) are used to detain people who have beefs with the CCP. This of course is illegal according to Chinese law and so they of course deny that they exist….

  • hmm… looks like the american Stock Market…

  • adding color would help a little. doubtful that the communists would paint it.
    and i agree with killergabo, it does resemble the american stock market. XD

  • Honestly looking, it looks very bad.

  • I think this building KICKS ASS.

  • Okay, the glass, gold and glitter is missing, but looking at the shape it would perfectly fit for Las Vegas.
    Why is it labelled ugliest building. Maybe the guy who put that label on it doesn’t like N-Korea so much. Neither do I, but there is no reason to insult them.

  • Actually, it’s one of the coolest buildings I’ve ever seen. The hotel in Dubai is way uglier…

  • RUKidding me ?

    Boston City Hall is WAY uglier.

    A poll of editors and readers on travel website has identified the world’s 10 ugliest buildings.

    “Some of these picks have all the charm of a bag of nails while others are just jaw-dropping in their complexity. Love them or hate them, the list is certainly entertaining,” said General manager Giampiero Ambrosi.


    Having the dubious distinction of coming top of the list is Boston City Hall in the US state of Massachusetts.

    The California site offered a sharp-tongued assessment of the Hub’s center of power.

    “While it was hip for it’s time, this concrete structure now gets routinely criticized for its dreary facade and incongruity with the rest of the city’s more genteel architecture. Luckily, it’s very close to more aesthetically pleasing attractions.”

    Mayor Thomas M. Menino has sought for years to move City Hall, most recently pitching a move to the seaport, where it could anchor the growing district.

  • A building is usually ugly during construction…If they decide to cover this with glamourous material or marble etc AND if it was located in the USA or Europe it would be considered a Top Class Design. I don’t know many 3000-room hotels giving an “artistic” twist to the design.

  • Why was it built?? -”No one knows why”??? I DO!

    South Korea was able to build the world’s tallest towers (back then) – the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

    Shortly afterwards, NK thought it could beat the SK tower, so heavily invested into the tower, but unexpected rising costs lead to backruptsy and a halt on teh construction.

  • I have a few sources for NK info, and what I’ve heard is that the building was intended as a functioning hotel, but the elevator-shafts were not designed correctly and elevators (lifts) cannot be installed, thus rendering the building useless. Competent elevator-engineers (who know as much or more about building-design than architects) were apparently not consulted. This sort of incompetence is not rare in NK, which is very good at some things, as pointed out by previous commenters, but not good at other things.

    Of course this huge building is a tremendous loss of face, and photos of the area have reportedly been airbrushed so it does not appear. People I know who’ve been on tours of Pyongyang say that any mention of the building is simply ignored by the tour-guides. They just pretend it doesn’t exist.

    North Korea is a strange place, but you knew that already.


  • It doesn’t look that bad.

  • it looks like a zit on the face of the planet.

    but remarkably, I find it astonishing….

  • ya me 2…i mean ireally dont c wat makes it so uglry…can anybody tell me..?

  • no its not….the hotel in dubai is actually pretyy!!
    idk wat the f ur talking about…!

  • At the top will be a giant toilet for Kim to use on the people staying inside.

  • its a secret nuclear missile launch site

  • Er. Prithviraj

    It's in north we would like to be their.Being a building planner,I think it's accomodating &caring ,love to be their.
    can one have snaps of the view from the building. thank for reading &thinking @ it. mAke it lively. thank u.

  • ya looks pretty good to me :D

  • your just saying that because the title say ugliest buildng. Quit lying to yourself! :D

  • Wow, someone knows nothing at all… The Hotel resumed construction in April 2008. It has glass covering in some places around it now and is really starting to polish up quite nice… Great design as well despite Koreas lack of well everything.

  • That someone is you!

  • I don't think it's ugly. Do I have a bad taste? Noah Lieske

  • Y don't u think that putting in glass on put the elevator in the middle would make it awesome?

    What I think is that they need a little more time to complete the building or so. Cause' if they do, this would stack up the top 10 world's best building design.

  • I don't see anything ugly about it. Of course, I live in San Francisco, which has a functional pyramid. Too bad NK can't finish its own. If you want to see ugly buildings, you have to go to Dallas. Don't miss the zippy-slippy side-slide building, the green building, the marble outdoor latrine — I mean monument — memorializing JFK, and MORE!

  • I saw it on the official site , it looks like a pyramid! But I think if it will be fully cladded it would look quite OK eventually.

  • it would have been the best–looking hotel in the world if it's in vegas

  • Construction began in 1987 (although no one knows why).
    1980 Kim Jong-il, known to be a big western movie buff elevated to the job of party secretary.
    1983 "Blade Runner" featuring a future Los Angeles dotted with big pyramid-like buildings is released.
    1987 Ground breaking for a big pyramid-like building in Pyongyang.

  • It is actually not that ugly.Everything deserves it's own recognition on a positive side.

  • Honestly, I'd like to see what it looks like finished. Just the mystery of the building in such a mysterious country makes it intriguing. It looks ancient and alien, like some futuristic drawing. I've definitely seen worse and it really is a neat looking building. I'd be curious with North Korea's economy, isolation and government how they're going to attract any outsiders to visit and occupy the hotel.

  • Who is ever going to live in that building? First of all, the building wont have any elevators and second there's barely no tourism in North Korea. If you look at the Wikipedia page about the hotel you'll see that it's almost covered with glass now. But what about the inside? It's probably just being decorated for the external view (so they don't need to remove it from photos etc), no one is ever going to live inside of it.

  • Design is actually decent, but I think the question should be: Who’s gonna stay in it?

  • If Sauron built a hotel, it would look like this.

  • its a slitting image of its fat leader

  • Tailand TV News

  • That is a pylon.

  • puta mano q te pasa nonos comentarios malos :)

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