I visited North Korea and took these photos, most of them illegal, so you could get a more candid look into the most mysterious country on the planet.

I was told I would be detained in case photos like these were found (“You took many photos. Too many,” – said my guide), but I managed to smuggle them out of the country, which was very stressful.

Authority – military is present everywhere in Pyongyang

The difference between North Korea (left) and China (right) is staggering

And it becomes even more apparent at night

You have several of these to fill in on your way in

First photo I took in North Korea. Photography from this train is illegal

People waiting to sell human waste to be used as fertiliser

“(The Korean Workers’) Party is never going to forget the comrades of Rakwon [city]”

North Koreans can only travel within the country when they receive a permit

North Korean soldiers

Dignity

Arrival in Pyongyang. I believe this was staged, as there were no other trains that day, so those elegant looking travellers had no reason to be there

Pyongyang – we were intercepted by our guides, who we could not leave during the entire stay, and who’d tell us when to sleep and when to wake up

North Korean street photography

Brutalist architecture of Pyongyang

Cityscape from the Yanggakdo hotel

The hotel officially has no floor 5, and you can only reach it by stairs

The door is almost always closed, but if you manage to get in, the place is full of propaganda posters, and people speculate it’s used for spying on the guests.

We did not get to interact with the locals almost at all. Most waitresses seemed slightly terrified of us

Kim Il-Sung’s square. This is one of the places they want you to photograph

Those allowed to live in Pyongyang are privileged, and wear a badge that is impossible to buy (you can get a fake one in China)

You are only allowed to photograph these statues if both bodies are featured in their entirety. There was an endless stream of North Koreans bringing flowers and bowing

I had 15 seconds to take this picture. This shop is for the locals only, and I was kicked out of it by my guide soon after taking this photo, but he didn’t see me taking it

Some of the souvenirs you can buy

The city is clear of rubbish

There was hardly any traffic, but they took our passports away and forbid us to go anywhere on our own in case we participate in a car accident…

Workers

The city was clean and elegant, but then I saw this

Socialist murals

Finally, people commuting to work

Thanks for watching, two more sets of photos are coming soon!

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