The seat of many national security institutions and home to major government institutions and other public offices, Pyongyang is the capital city for the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.
Guinness World Records recognizes Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang as the tallest unoccupied building on Earth, constructed in anticipation of the 1988 Summer Olympics that instead took place in South Korea’s capital city Seoul. If completed, the Ryugyong Hotel would have been the world’s tallest hotel at 1,082 feet (330 meters). As it stands, Pyongyang’s unfinished hotel is the 18th tallest building and holds the Guinness World Record for highest unoccupied building.
North Korea exported US$2.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016 according to the latest estimates from the International Trade Centre. North Korea’s highest-value exports are coal, clothing, iron, processed petroleum, silver and lead.
Capital Facts for Pyongyang, North Korea: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Tower of the Juche Idea, Geumsusan Memorial Palace and Kim Il Sung Stadium
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Pyongyang, North Korea:
- Pyon Kwang-sun, Olympic artistic gymnast (born Nov. 18, 1986)
- Pak Doo-ik, soccer player/footballer (born Dec. 17, 1943)
- Kye Sun-hui, Olympic judo medalist (born Aug. 2, 1979)
- Kim Jong-un, former party leader (born Jan. 8, 1983)
- Kim Sul-song, former security official (born Dec. 30, 1974)
- Ah Mei, pop singer (born Dec. 17, 1982)
- Jong-un Kim, actor (born Jan. 8, 1984)
- Ri Yong-mu, senior North Korean official (born Jan. 25, 1925)
- Kim Kyong-hui, workers’ party secretary (born May 30, 1946)
- Kim Joong-up, architect & educator (born 1922)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a North Korean resident: North Korean
Population: 2,860,000 (Pyongyang)
Density: 42,059 people per square mile (16,239 per square kilometer)
Population: 25,115,311 (North Korea)
Density: 540 people per square mile (209 per square kilometer)
GDP:US$40 billion as of 2014 (for North Korea, per CIA World Factbook)
GDP per person: $1,593
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Pyongyang were unavailable.
Official currency used in Pyongyang: North Korean won
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data). Accessed on November 30, 2016
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, East & Southeast Asia: North Korea. Accessed on February 7, 2017
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas. Accessed on November 30, 2016
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition. Accessed on November 30, 2016
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition. Accessed on November 30, 2016
Guinness World Records, Tallest building unoccupied. Accessed on February 7, 2017
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 7, 2017
Official Government Website, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Accessed on November 30, 2016
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags. Accessed on November 30, 2016
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Pyongyang. Accessed on November 30, 2016
Wikipedia, North Korea. Accessed on February 7, 2017
Pyongyang lies on a flat plain approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) east of Korea Bay, and is located in the west-central part of North Korea (formally named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
Pyongyang occupies a land area measuring 68 square miles (176 square kilometers), and is home to an estimated 2.9 million people.
At the country level, North Korea’s land area covers 46,490 square miles (120,408 square kilometers). The national population count was 25.1 million inhabitants as of July 2016.
The population density for the North Korean capital Pyongyang is an average 42,100 inhabitants per square mile (16,200 per square kilometer).
For North Korea overall, population density drops severely to an average 500 inhabitants per square mile (200 per square kilometer).
Both North and South Korea gained independence from Japan on August 15, 1945. Since 1948, North Koreans celebrate the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea each September 9.