For more than two decades, the West has wondered how the old Taehwang Hotel will be restored to its former glory as a luxury hotel.
Now, thanks to the efforts of artist and filmmaker Sue Nan, that question is no longer a mystery.
“I took part in the reconstruction of this hotel in 2003,” Nan told The Guardian. “The North Korean government put their trust in me.”
The project cost $10,000, Nan said, and lasted several months. She documented the building’s undoing, from new concrete footing to discarded waste.
Today, the hotel, near the North Korean-Chinese border, is still unfinished, but it’s not too shabby for a pitifully poor country that lacks its own high-end luxury hotel. It’s unusual for abandoned spots to be turned into tourist attractions in other countries, either for the entertainment of the public or the money required to complete the project.
“I was in the presence of a beautiful catwalk when suddenly the whole scaffolding went away and the structure turned into a heap of rubble,” Nan said.