"There will come a time, when all the peoples of the world, regardless of the political systems under which they live, will have to learn to live together in peace."


Dr. Martin Luther King





From Dora Observation Platform, tourists crowd to see over to North Korea just beyond the river and green belt of the DMZ. The JSA, Joint Security Area, is just visible to the far right by the building. No Korean civilians are allowed up to the DMZ.


Photo by John Gonglewski





The three Chinese characters (Korean Hanja) above the altar name this place:

 "The Gazing over the Distance Worshiping Altar."


At the closest point to the DMZ that South Koreans may go, a man has come to honor and remember his family in North Korea. Facing north, dressed in black, he has put aside his hat and poured a drink for each of his five family members he has not seen or talked to in fifty years, and cannot write to, send money to, or phone.


There is no equivalent altar in North Korea.



Photo by John Gonglewski





A nice model of the JSA, or Joint Security Area, in the DMZ. It is commonly called Panmunjom, for the now defunct nearby village where negotiators for the Korean War Armistice first met.


The MDL is the Military Demarcation Line, the actual north-south border, running directly through the Armistice and Negotiation buildings. The robin's egg blue is actually United Nations' blue, and marks the UNC AOR (Area of Responsibility).


If you want to get a feel for the difference in life from South Korea to North Korea, consider the architectural spaces created on either side of the border as reflected in this model. Note the modern materials, landscaping, and graciousness of the south, against the formalist de-individualized and stark spaces of the north.


You see here a side-by-side of Seoul and Pyongyang.


Photo by John Gonglewski



Young rice grows amidst the power lines just south of the DMZ. North Korea is just visible as hazy distant mountains. Demand for living and agricultural space in a densely populated Korea has pushed the civilian population dangerously close to the border.


Photo by John Gonglewski






The "Happy Forever" building in dynamic (Korea's favorite word) downtown Seoul. Note the Caucasian businessman, the South Korean cars, and the fine landscaping.


Photo by John Gonglewski




The Koryo Hotel in downtown Pyongyang. Walking is the main mode of transport in North Korea, and there are virtually no foreigners. One of the Koryo's towers has a revolving restaurant with a good Korean Barbecue. It used to close promptly at 9pm, whether you were finished eating or not. Recently, with the introduction of tipping, you can stay and drink all night.


Photo courtesy of flicr.com




A recent view of Pyongyang from the top of the Juche Tower. The distant UFO-like structure is the May Day Stadium, the world's largest, holding more than 150,000 people.


Photo courtesy of flicr.com





Thanks for visiting!






Copyright John D. Gonglewski, 2010