These are some photo's I took of the country houses in the surrounding countryside around Nampo City as we made our way to the West Sea Barrage. Some are very simply whilst others are quite large with large windows at the front. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
This is probably the only sensible project to have been built under the 'Kim' regime. The West Sea Barrage is located 15km (9 miles) west of the city of Nampo and was built from 1981 to 1986. It is a huge, eight-kilometre-long system of dams, three lock chambers, and 36 sluices, allowing the passage of ships up to 50,000 tons. It closes the Taedong River off from the Yellow Sea in order to supply fresh drinking water and water for irrigation but cost 4 billion won. We visited it on a rather wet day and it does, indeed, look very impressive.
When we visited the West Sea Barrage, we first went to the Visitor's Centre which is located on top of a small islet called Pi Islet. Inside we watched a short film about its construction which began in 1981 and the film started in black and white before turning to colour after the first couple of years of the barrage's construction. Next, the guide at the Visitor's Centre explained the barrage's operations and key features via a large scale model of it. On the walls of the Visitor's Centre were pictures of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il overseeing its construction plus some of the gifts presented to Kim Jung Il including a car presented by Hyundai.
This is the 10-lane 42km Youth Hero Highway that runs between Pyongyang and Nampo with, of course, not much in the way of vehicles using it. I'm sure it was built to double as an emergency runway. It was built in the year 2000 by, as some reports I've read state, 50,000 young "volunteers" by hand as North Korea can't afford fuel to run machinery. Human rights campaigners have said that some of these "volunteers" were as young as 8 or 9 years old. Just think of this when you're riding along it in disbelief.
These are some photo's I took of the surrounding countryside around Nampo City as we made our way to the West Sea Barrage. Lots of people were working in the rice paddy fields and other farmland where most of the work is done by hand. It was good to see some of the rural countryside of North Korea and as we passed by, young children would wave to us and so we waved back. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
On our way back to Pyongyang from Nampo, we stopped off at this cooperative farm but is more like a museum than a farm. We were met by another guide who showed us round a large building full of photos of Kim Il Sung's visits here and on other farms. There are even some lecterns from which he gave rousing speeches.
This wall shows all the dates that Kim Il Sung visited this farm - 89 times in total to offer his special 'expertise'. We asked the guide, who was showing us around, what valuable contribution had he made but we didn't really get a straight answer back.
These are some photo's I took from the bus when we drove through Nampo City after visiting the West Sea Barrage. It's a pretty drab looking place made even more so by the rain. We didn't stop in the city at all but I don't think we really missed much.
After visiting the 'museum' part of the farm, we went outside and were shown around some glasshouses and small plots of land growing vegetables and fruit.