Juche Tower at night
|Location||Pyongyang, North Korea|
|Material||Granite and white stone|
|Height||170 metres (560 ft)|
|Dedicated to||Juche ideology|
The Juche Tower (more formally, Tower of the Juche Ideology) is a monument in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, named after the ideology of Juche introduced by the country's first leader, Kim Il-sung.
The Juche Tower is situated on the east bank of the River Taedong, directly opposite Kim Il-sung Square on the west bank. It was built to commemorate Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday. Although his son and successor Kim Jong-il is officially credited as its designer, interviews with former North Korean officials contradict this assertion.
The architectural style of the Tower is inspired by stone pagodas of premodern Korea. The 170-metre (560 ft) structure is a four-sided tapering 150-metre (490 ft) spire – the tallest in granite – containing 25,550 blocks (365 × 70: one for each day of Kim Il-sung's life, excluding supplementary days for leap years), dressed in white stone with seventy dividers and capped with a 20-metre (66 ft)-high 45-ton illuminated metal torch.
The torch on top of the tower is always lit. It is possible to ascend the tower by elevator and there are wide views over Pyongyang from the viewing platform just below the torch.
At its base, there are reception rooms where videos explaining the tower's ideological importance are sometimes shown. It is presumed to be modelled on the Washington Monument, which it surpasses in height by less than a meter. The Juche Tower is the second tallest monumental column in the world after the San Jacinto Monument, which is 2.9 metres (9.5 ft) taller.
Associated with the tower is a 30-metre (98 ft)-high statue consisting of three idealised figures each holding a tool – a hammer (the worker); a sickle (the peasant); and a writing brush (the "working intellectual") – in a classic Stalinistic-style reminiscent of the Soviet statue Worker and Kolkhoz Woman. The three tools form the insignia on the flag of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. There are also six smaller groups of figures, each 10 metres (33 ft) high, that symbolize other aspects of Juche ideology.
Tribute Plaques to the Juche interior contained in the interior entrance of the tower.
The lower part of the Tower of Juche Idea, with the Taedong River in the foreground and symmetric buildings in the background.
View from the Juche Tower looking at Kim Il Sung Square