Propaganda Village - North Korea

Kijong-dong Travel Blog

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View into North Korea

Kijong-dong is a village in Panmungun, North Korea.  It has been called Peace Village on the northern side of the Demilitarized Zone.  In the south, it is known as Propaganda Village.  There is a guidebook published in the north that claims the village has the Panmun Cooperative Farm which embraces over 200 households.  There is a kindergarten, day care, senior middle school, and a hospital.  The truth is most people believe the village was built within the DMZ purely for the purposes of propaganda.  There are no residents, except for soldiers.  Some lights do come on at night but they are always the same buildings, at the same time.  From a distance, it looks like the buildings have windows but there is not even glass in the buildings.

Hazy view of Propaganda Village
 

Ironically, the world's tallest flag tower is in Kijong-dong at 160m tall. It is in the Guinness World Book of Records as well.  It was not originally the tallest - the tallest was on the south side in Daeseong-dong.  When Daeseong-dong flag pole was extended, the north responded by extending theirs taller, sometimes touted as the "flagpole war".  We saw the flagpole and tried to get a couple photos but with the haze, it wasn't visible.

You can see farmers in North Korea, near "Propaganda Village" which also blares loudspeakers complete with music and communist commentary throughout the night.  As night sets in, the farmers are removed and the soldiers aka residents come to tend to the custodial village. 

It was so impressive to see the areas and how the North Korean cities situated near the border actually operate.

More Propaganda Village buildings
  Pictures are not allowed in these areas so the only photos posted here are actually taken at the Dora Observatory.  Anything you do is under such extreme scrunity and the soldiers are there to protect visitors and South Korea from another invasion.  You are advised against making eye contact and you certainly don't wave, as North Korean soldiers may take pictures of you and use it in their own communist propaganda publications.  The North Korean soldiers taunt and tease those who visit the borders, brain washed by the communist ramblings repeated daily. 

The hills in this area have machine gun emplacements.  Sandbags line the median which are the same.  The Imjin River is filed with nets and spikes and other obstacles, preventing North Korean soldiers and/or vessels from traveling south.

Bridge in Propaganda Village
 

Once you try to reach the Civilian Passage Zone - soldiers board the bus, check passports, and verify the bus is safe to continue travel.  No South Korean citizens are allowed past this point headed into Panmunjom.  Passing this point brings some interesting scenery including Camp Bonifas where we saw soldiers training. Camp Bonifas is a collection of buildings surrounded by razor wire and land mines and armed soldiers.  The video we watched at the site of the 3rd tunnel showed the 1976 deaths of two US soldiers (inc Major Bonifas) who were hacked to death by ax-wielding Northern Korean soldiers as the Americans tried to trim a tree in the DMZ.  The camp has a one hole golf course - surrounded on three sides by mine fields.  Apparently Sports Illustrated magazine visited a few years ago, dubbing it the most dangerous hole in golf, especially because one errant shot did explode a mine once.     

There were bus passes under concrete overpasses that appeared to have no purpose - they are actually tank traps which can be collapsed with dynamite to prevent the enemy tanks from continuing south. 

 

woosang says:
what an interesting article. I would love to go to North Korea one day. Thanks for sharing
Posted on: Jun 25, 2008
travelman727 says:
Great blog, Erin :-D
Posted on: Apr 17, 2008
portia says:
oh, our RTW traveler deats is going to be so jealous that you got to go to the DMZ, he is not having any luck with booking a tour.
Posted on: Apr 16, 2008
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View into North Korea
View into North Korea
Hazy view of Propaganda Village
Hazy view of Propaganda Village
More Propaganda Village buildings
More Propaganda Village buildings
Bridge in Propaganda Village
Bridge in Propaganda Village
Propaganda Village buildings
Propaganda Village buildings
Kijong-dong
photo by: poohstanggt