North Korea / Places We Go

Landscapes Of North Korea

The overwhelming majority of these pictures below were taken through the dirty window of a moving vehicle, so cut me some slack on the image quality. I’m trying to show you what the countryside of North Korea looks like, not win any photography prizes.

Contrary to the rumors, the only restrictions the North Koreans placed on us in regard to photography were that we could not take pictures of soldiers or military installations:

landscapes-north-korea

Many of these pictures need to be brought up to full size (click on the image twice) to fully appreciate all of the little details. The shocked expression on this man’s face (below) at seeing Westerners is one example:

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railroad-north-korea

country-home-north-korea

landscapes-north-korea

landscapes-north-korea

You’ll notice that there is no trash, no graffiti, no billboards, no advertisements… That isn’t because I was being selective with my pictures. Such things just aren’t there:

landscapes-north-korea

rural-north-korea

Mechanization is still a rarity in the countryside and so most work in the fields continues to be done by hand:

working-the-fields-north-korea

rural-north-korea

countryside-north-korea

The Tomb of King Kongmin:

Tomb-of-King-Kongmin

Tomb-of-King-Kongmin

forest-north-korea

Those white specks on the right are a herd of goats:

landscapes-north-korea

I know, I know it’s blurry… The camera focused on the glass of the window rather than the AK-47 monument I wanted to capture (something that happened to me every time we drove by an AK-47 monument). However, you can still pretty much get the idea of what it’s all about from my imperfect photograph. Better pictures of some of the other AK-47 monuments in North Korea can be seen here:

ak-47 monument north korea

Remember what I said above about the little details in pictures? I didn’t notice many of these myself until I was reviewing the pictures later. When I took this picture of a home in the countryside, I assumed the van was operational. As you can see if you bring the image up to full size, that is far from the case:

landscapes-north-korea

landscapes-north-korea

Something I noticed on many homes in the countryside were that they had bars on the doors and windows. That made me wonder about the crime rate in the worker’s paradise:

landscapes-north-korea

How do you like that truck? I didn’t notice the naked guy either until I was uploading this picture:

landscapes-north-korea

See that woman standing on the platform on the right side of this picture? Well, almost every field we passed in North Korea had one of these platforms set up next to it and they were usually occupied. I don’t know for certain what the purpose is, but I am assuming that it is to keep an eye on the fields so that none of the food is stolen:

cornfield-north-korea

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landscapes north korea

countryside-north-korea

These men were filling sacks with earth from the bed of the river. I’m not sure what their purpose was, but I found the whole scene to be quite photogenic:

laborers-north-korea

laborers-north-korea

laborers-north-korea

Aside from things like bars on the windows and bicycles everywhere, something else I noticed were an amazing number of people sitting along the roads throughout North Korea, seemingly just waiting for…something. I don’t know if they were waiting for something entertaining to pass by or if they saw the roadside as a social venue since nearly everyone in the village passes by on foot or on a bicycle or if they prefer to be outside, away from a dreary home without electricity. Perhaps all of the above? Or perhaps I have it completely wrong and it is something else entirely. Either way, it was ubiquitous:

landscapes-north-korea (31)

landscapes north korea

Bicycle repair:

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riding-bicycle-north-korea

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landscapes-north-korea

A home along the Taedong River:

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landscapes-north-korea

mountains-north-korea

mountains north korea

landscapes-north-korea

Another one of those platforms that I mentioned earlier for keeping watch over a field:

landscapes-north-korea

landscapes-north-korea

You can just make out that the man in the bottom of this picture is a high-ranking military officer… I would estimate that 25% of the people that one sees in North Korea will be in a military uniform. And a surprising number of them – even if they carry a high rank – are on foot or making their way around with a bicycle:

north-korean-soldier-in-countryside

The above pictures were presented in chronological order.

One thought on “Landscapes Of North Korea

  1. Pingback: The Lonely Highways Of North Korea | The Velvet Rocket

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