The Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-story (330 metres/1,080 ft) skyscraper under construction in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name (“capital of willows”) is also one of the historic names for Pyongyang. Construction began in 1987 with planned completion in 1989. However, after several delays, construction was eventually halted in 1992; the fall of the Soviet Union had resulted in widespread economic disruptions in North Korea and shortages of raw materials.
The building stood topped out but without windows or interior fittings for the next sixteen years. Construction resumed in April 2008 under the supervision of the Orascom Group of Egypt, which has invested heavily in the North Korean mobile telephony and construction Industries. The company completed exterior work on the building in 2011, and interior work on the building’s 360,000 square metres (3,900,000 sq ft) of floor space will continue until 2012 or later. Orascom has stated that the building will contain restaurants, hotel accommodation, apartments, and business facilities.
The building is the most prominent feature of Pyongyang’s skyline and by far the largest structure in North Korea. Construction of the Ryugyong was intended to be completed in time for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in June 1989; had this been achieved, it would have held the title of world’s tallest hotel. The unfinished building was not surpassed in height by any new hotel until the 2009 completion of the spire atop the Rose Tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Ryugyong Hotel is currently the world’s 40th tallest building (alongside the China World Trade Center Tower III) in terms of total height and has the 4th highest number of floors.