North Korea remains a mystery to most people outside it, with ruler Kim Jong Un firmly keeping it closed off from the rest of the world. But curiosity about the country is peaking as rumbles of a nuclear face-off between North Korea and the USA grow louder.
So, the timing of this video from Singaporean photographer Aram Pan couldn’t have been better. A 360-degree video of the capital, Pyongyang, it is almost surreal in its juxtaposition of buildings and emptiness on the streets.
There are skyscrapers on major streets, but the roads seem strangely deserted. And intersections between broad avenues appear to have no traffic lights.
Pan claims this is the first video of its kind shot over North Korea. He filmed it for the news organisation, NK News and had to work around strict rules related to photography and media for the project.
The footage reveals major landmarks such as the May Day stadium, the science and technology centre and even candy-coloured high-rises on Mirae (Future) Scientists Street. It is believed that the high-rises were built very quickly to accommodate faculty members of Kim Chaek University.
Also visible is the Yanggakado International hotel, where American student Otto Warmbier tried to snag a propaganda poster, according to North Korean officials. Warmbier suffered a grim fate as he was behind bars for 17 months in North Korea before being released, dying shortly afterwards.
“I’m quite amazed at how much this city has grown, considering most of it was flattened in the bombing of the Korean war just a generation ago,” Pan said in an interview.