A haunting look inside one of the world's last closed societies, the Hermit Kingdom.
As one of the world’s last closed societies, North Korea has attracted global curiosity to what it seals off. Despite an ongoing food crisis that has spanned two decades and the cascading paranoia of its political leadership, life manages to go on in the Hermit Kingdom.
Compiled from a handful of sources, we take a look at everyday life in North Korea:
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Since the fall of the USSR, North Korea has existed in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world.
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Electricity is still a rare commodity across North Korea, even in the capital of Pyongyang, where the city is shrouded in darkness at night.
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North Korea has faced a dire food crisis over the past two decades, the ongoing impact of which is still visible on North Korean citizens.
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Over 1,500 miles of North Korean coastline are surrounded by electric fences to prevent people from trying to flee the country.
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Lines for transportation and basic necessities can span for hours. Here, a long queue forms for a bus in Pyongyang.
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Chronic shortages of food has made the population look food any where they can find it, including by collecting grass from parks.
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Two school girls hold hands in a subway station in Pyongyang.
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Most agricultural production in North Korea has not been mechanized, meaning farmers are highly reliant on animals for a majority of their activities.
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Virtually sealed off from the outside world, North Koreans have few - if any - encounters with other nationalities and races. This photograph captures the reaction of a group of people to seeing a Westerner.
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Dubbed "The Worst Building in the History of Mankind" and the "Hotel Of Doom", the yet-to-be-completed Ryugyong Hotel dominates the Pyongyang skyline.
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A defining attribute of North Korean roads are the frequent appearance of giant roadside blocks, which contain debris and shrapnel to inhibit the mobility of tanks in case of a land invasion.
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On top of an active force of over one million, North Korea's military has a reserve force of over 8 million men and women.
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The Gallery of Art in Pyongyang deals with a mid-afternoon power outage.
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Though operating businesses is technically illegal in North Korea, many rural families supplement their livelihood by opening small roadside stores.
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Pyongyang is home to the world's deepest subway system, which also doubles as a city-wide bomb shelter.
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While education is hypothetically universal and mandated in North Korea, most farms are dependent on child labor.
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Holidays in North Korea are a little different than most, as citizens are 'asked' to pay homage to the great leader at various monuments. The resulting lines can last several miles.
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While North Korea nominally has one of the world's largest armies, the reality is the North Korean government cannot adequately provide for over 1 million active personnel. Meaning scenes like the above -- where soldiers trade labor for food or money -- are quite common.
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Pyongyang from above.
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Western brands and goods are available to the elite in Pyongyang, where higher end items can be purchased only in Euros and U.S. dollars.
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In 1968, North Korea captured the USS Pueblo, an intelligence vessel that is now a museum in Pyongyang.
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Driving is a relatively new activity for North Koreans; these signs instruct drivers to watch their speed and be careful of other motorists.
Alexander is a Brooklyn-based cofounder of All That's Interesting with an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in History and Economics and an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies in Economics. He specializes in American history, the Cold War, and true crime.