The Telegraph: Now, 24 years after it was first started, the hotel which once aimed to be the world's tallest tower will finally open its doors in the North Korean capital.
Ryugyong Hotel, a glass tower spanning 105 storeys and rising 1,080ft high, will partially open in April next year following decades of delays, according to reports. The long-delayed opening will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation's founder Kim Il-sung, with celebrations peaking on 15 April.
It was in 1987 that the hotel – whose name means Capital of Willows – was first launched with the grandiose ambitions of creating the world's tallest tower. However, construction ground to a halt in 1993, due to lack of funds following the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic mismanagement and natural disasters. More immediate concerns such as the state's struggling economy and serious food shortages appeared to overshadow the project, which remained empty and unfinished for 16 years.
During this period, the shell of the hotel which was once emblazoned across North Korean stamps become an increasingly criticised blot on the urban landscape, with the regime even reportedly airbrushing it out of official shots.
The hotel, which consists of a jagged three-sided pyramid form, was also condemned by critics as ugly, with Esquire magazine hailed as "the worst building in the history of mankind".
However, three years ago, North Korea announced plans to resume and complete construction, in partnership with Orascom Group Inc, an Egyptian conglomerate.
The building – which will have the hotel on 20th to 30th levels as well as restaurant services and business facilities – is believed to be world's 40th tallest building with reportedly the fourth highest number of floors.
The hotel opening is among a string of projects North Korean officials are reportedly undertaking in order to present a modern capital as the world tunes in to the 100th anniversary celebrations.
Earlier this year the regime announced it would shut universities for 10 months and send students to work in factories, agriculture and the construction sector to help rebuild its economy by 2012.