Kumsusan Memorial Palace
The Kumsusan Memorial Palace, sometimes referred to as the Kim Il-sung Mausoleum, is a building located northeast of downtown Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

, the capital city of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The palace is the former official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

 and office of North Korea's president and founder, Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

. Following Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, his son and successor Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

 had the building renovated and transformed into his father's final resting place. Inside the palace, Kim Il-sung's embalmed body lies viewable inside a clear glass sarcophagus. His head rests on a Korean-style pillow and he is covered by the flag of the Workers Party of Korea.

The palace is situated in a secluded area in Pyongyang and is only accessible to foreigners on Thursdays and Sundays on official government tours. Photography, videotaping, smoking and talking are not permitted anywhere inside the palace. It is fronted by a massive square and is bordered on its northern and eastern sides by a moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

. Of the extant mausoleums dedicated to Communist leaders, Kumsusan is the largest.

Access to the building is via a subway from a tram stop across the road. Opon entering the building, the visitor then has to leave everything except their wallet behind in a cloak room with a numbered ticket to claim them upon leaving. They are then electric wand searched, before proceeding on endless travelators. Finally they emerge in a long hall with a white stone statue of Kim bathed in soft red light around him. Marble arched columns line the hall. Visitors are told to stop at a yellow line on the floor, and after a few moments of contemplation, beckoned into another room. Here they are given a small Sony speaker device, that plays a heavily dramatic narration of the peoples grief when their Great Leader died. The room features bronze like busts of people grieving. Finally, visitors go up in a lift to the top floor in the white and grey marble walled building. They are filed through a dust blowing machine, and enter the room with the Great Leader lying in state. A red rope barrier runs around the sarcophagus. Visitors are sent in groups of four, and are told to bow at the Great Leader's feet, to his right, and then left sides.

On exiting the room with the Great Leader lying in state, they enter a room filled with awards and medals from around the world. These include items from France, Belgium, Italy and Portugal followed by items from less Democratic regimes, such as Libya, Cuba, Russia, China, East Germany, Romania, Palestine, Egypt and a large number from Peru. The only item from USA is a degree certificate from Kensington University, California, an unaccredited university, which was closed by the state in 2003. A Peace medal from Japan lies next to a medal from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the "Medal For the Victory Over Japan
Medal For the Victory Over Japan
The medal For the Victory Over Japan was a Soviet military decoration, awarded to all the soldiers, officers and partisans who directly participated in the live combat actions against Japan during the Second World War...

" awarded to him for his efforts in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. It should also be noted that there are no signs or information in Korean here. The room has large paintings and photographs of Kim Il Sung meeting various world leaders during their visits to North Korea, such as Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 of Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 of Libya, Chairman Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 of China, Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

 of Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker was a German communist politician who led the German Democratic Republic as General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1971 until 1989, serving as Head of State as well from Willi Stoph's relinquishment of that post in 1976....

 of East Germany, Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

 of former Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski is a retired Polish military officer and Communist politician. He was the last Communist leader of Poland from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's...

 of Poland, Todor Zhivkov
Todor Zhivkov
Todor Khristov Zhivkov was a communist politician and leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989....

 of Bulgaria, János Kádár
János Kádár
János Kádár was a Hungarian communist leader and the General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, presiding over the country from 1956 until his forced retirement in 1988. His thirty-two year term as General Secretary makes Kádár the longest ruler of the People's Republic of Hungary...

 of Hungary, Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 of Cuba, and Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 of Palestine, as well as several former Soviet leaders including Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

, Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, Konstantin Chernenko
Konstantin Chernenko
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko was a Soviet politician and the fifth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He led the Soviet Union from 13 February 1984 until his death thirteen months later, on 10 March 1985...

 and many others including Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 and former U.S. preisdent Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...


See also

  • National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
    Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
    The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a large memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, which is the place where Vietminh leader Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.- History :Construction...

  • Lenin's Mausoleum
    Lenin's Mausoleum
    Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

  • Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
    Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
    The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall , commonly known as the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, or the Mao Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945...

  • Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
    Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
    Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum is situated at the foot of the second peak of Mount Zijin in Nanjing, China. Construction of the tomb started in January 1926 and was finished in spring of 1929. The architect was Lu Yanzhi, who died shortly after it was finished.- History :Dr...

External links

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