the pyongyang metro

Note: The text here is taken from the booklet The Pyongyang Metro, English edition, 1994. Nothing has been omitted or altered.
Thanks to Taro for providing the Japanese version of this page.


The Pyongyang Metro was opened to traffic in September 1973.

The metro has a greater transport capacity than other means of passenger traffic and gets a large share in guaranteeing the smoothness of traffic in the city of Pyongyang.

It fans out in all directions of the city and every citizen has easy access to its service. In constructing the metro, considerable thought was given to the prospect of the city’s development. It links districts with each other and the city centre with the suburbs.

The stations are within easy reach of squares, parks, stadiums and pleasure grounds and bus and trolley bus stops in the city.

Each station is equipped with escalators.

The high ceilinged stations are well-ventilated and this makes the passengers feel refreshed.

Each station offers an individual architectural style. The design of platforms, ceilings and lighting have been made to match the name of each station or its symbol — Yonggwang (glory), Puhung (rehabilitation), Sungri (victory), Hwanggumbol (golden fields), Kwangbok (liberation) and so on.

The illuminations in Yonggwang Station bring to view the victory celebrations after the war with the fireworks fired over the square with myriad reams of confetti hanging in the air. The chandeliers in Hwanggumbol Station take the shape of grapes in a bumper harvest.

Now for some on-the-spot guidance
The great leader President Kim Il Sung and dear Comrade Kim Jong Il inspect the Pyongyang Metro (April 10, 1987)

The large walls and pillars in the underground stations are adorned with sculptures, embossed carvings, mosaics and other murals. The large colour-fast mosaic murals are bright and fascinating. A mosaic mural in Kongug (nation building) Station is about 30 metres long, with more than 10,000 pieces of mosaic coated on one square metre ofthe wall. There are two mosaic murals, each 80 metres long, at Yonggwang Station. Similar murals are to be found in other stations.

These works of art show the achievements of the Korean people in the revolution and construction.

Natural marble and stones of superior quality abundant in our country were used in the construction of the metro.

The metro is a monumental structure which has been built with our own techniques, our own materials and our own efforts.

The metro continues to expand.

Polished to a high sheen
Puhung Station

The works of art at Puhung Station represent the appearance of the country which is prospering day by day and the happiness of the working people who enjoy the equitable and worthwhile creative life to their hearts’ content thanks to the popular policy of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In the underground station is the mosaic mural “The Great Leader Kim Il Sung among Workers” which depicts the great leader who, regarding “The people are my God” as his motto, devoted his whole life to the people, sharing life and death, sweets and bitters with them.

Great Leader, happy workers
Mosaic mural in Puhung Station: “The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung among Workers” (15.8 x 9.25 m)

More happy workers
Mosaic mural in Puhung Station: “A Morning of Innovation” (24 x 4 m)

Happy farmers
Mosaic mural in Puhung Station: “Song of a Bumper Crop” (24 x 4 m)

Unusual lighting fixtures
Various types of chandeliers in stations

Very fat pillars
Marble pillars in Konguk Station

An overseas Korean who was on a visit to the homeland gave his impression of the Pyongyang Metro to respected President Kim Il Sung. He said that in the country where he was residing it was out of the question to use high-quality stones in the buildings for common people.

At this point the president said that in our country we were building a metro not as a means of making money but for providing the civilized and convenient life to the people, so that we did not spare money to decorate the inside well and construct it solidly and modernly.

More than 30,000 square metres of natural marble and 40,000 square metres of granite have been used in the construction of the Pyongyang Metro. This is nothing but a negligible amount of materials used in the building of the metro by the Government of the DPRK.

This way to the bomb shelter
Entrance to the escalators

A completely spontaneous picture of Kaeson Station
Kaeson Station

The Pyongyang Metro is not only the traffic means but also the place for ideological education.

Its inside decoration is depicted artistically so as to convey to posterity the glorious revolutionary history and the leadership exploits of the great leader President Kim Il Sung.

This can be seen throughout the various embossed carvings at Kaeson Station which has the portrait of the great leader making a speech after he liberated the country through the arduous and bloody anti-Japanese war and returned home in triumph. Kwangbok Station based on the revolutionary traditions of our Party and Thongil Station based on national reunification.

A train's eyes popping out
Hwanggumbol Station

One day Hwanggumbol Station which represents the rural scenery of our country rolling with golden ears of rice every year roared with passengers’ laughter.

A five-year-old child led by a 70-year-old grandmother pointed to the ceiling and was keeping after her for grapes.

Smoothing her grandson the old woman told him: “Darling, it is not the bundle of grape but chandeliers.”

All the passengers turned their eyes upon the ceiling as if prearranged. There were chandeliers in the shape of delicious-looking grapes.

This excited the laughter of passengers.

You must smile
Mural in Konsol Station: “A Construction Site of Blast Furnace”

Auferstanden aus Ruinen
Mural in Konsol Station: “Builders of the Capital City”

The same passengers as in the other pictures
Passengers on escalators

More well-dressed passengers
In an electric car

One day in September 1968, respected President Kim Il Sung visited a pit face of the construction of the metro and gave guidance to the project for many hours. He looked at the stairs to the entrance of the pit and stepped on the steep stairs one by one to the end.

In this way the happiness of the people was provided by the goodness of the President who took the trouble of the people into his first consideration.

This woman also serves as a passenger
The on-schedule running to be ensured

It was one day in February when six months had passed since the opening of the Pyongyang Metro.

The President went to Thongil Station. He reached the underground station on the escalator and took a ride in an electric car manned by many passengers, saying, “Let me sit down among the people.”

While he was having a frank talk with some citizens on a common seat, the car arrived at a terminal station.

That day he grasped the actual conditions of the operation of the metro and instructed that the number of electric car should be increased and on-schedule running be ensured, so as not for the passengers to feel inconveniences.

Yet more socialist bliss (Re-education camps not shown)
Mosaic mural in Ragwon Station, “Masters of the Country”

On September 5, 1973, there took place an opening ceremony of the Pyongyang Metro. That day the great leader President Kim Il Sung said to officials in a thoughtful tone before cutting the red tape hanging down in the place for opening ceremony.

“I think it is difficult to build the metro, but it is not to cut the tape.”

Hearing his words who considered the trouble of builders first, the participants in the opening ceremony felt a lump in their throats and gave enthusiastic cheers, waving the bundles of flowers.

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