Google Earth

Ghost City: 39.75N, 126.31E

soot.JPGBy the green river, there is a grey city.  The city, I  infer from this map, is called  Tokchon, and it lies on the headwaters of the Taedong, above Pyongyang, and above the slave-worked coal mines of Camps 14 and 18. 

The city is coated in soot, a deathly blanket reminiscent of scenes we haven’t seen since the fall of Ceausescu’s Romania.    Click for a full-size image.

Search the streets for signs of life, and you will find few.  I searched for five minutes before I even saw a truck.  In places, the shadows seem to show that the buildings are vacant. 

soot2.JPGThere are other cities like this, too.  If you have Google Earth, pay a visit to 42.5N, 140.3E, and you will find this place.



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  2. could well be a illegal market alright. note the building to the left of the stadium, and how the crowds are going into it or congregating around it. but your initial point about ghost towns is valid – just looking around the rest of the town you can see that its practically deserted.

    could these ghost towns be a sign of the effects of the famine in the 90s?


  3. Yes. I think the telling part is the apparent breakdown of much of the industry and the apparently vacant buildings along the main drag. The town appears to be in the advanced stages of being stripped of everything salvageable. About 25 miles south of there, another factory is still churning out smoke. The ones in these towns look like stripped out hulks.

    You have to wonder what those people are living on.


  4. If you look in the hills surrounding the “ghost” city on both sides of the river, you will see numerous grave mounds arranged in a haphazard manner. On the south side of the river I noticed grave mounds on hillsides that seemed to be terraced for agriculture. It seems odd that one would choose to bury someone in an area suitable for growing crops during a famine. Maybe they were desperate or it didn’t matter because the city was being abandoned.

    There are also strange structures in the fields that look like trenches inside a square. (rice paddy?) Some of the trenches are covered in snow and some are not, which means they may be recent work. Why would you be digging up part of a rice paddy during the middle of winter? 39.4544N, 126.1710E.

    Also what appears to be a prison camp at 39.4504N, 126.1440E.


  5. centered on what looks like a missile/rocket on it’s side pointing towards S.Korea:,126.199962&spn=0.001445,0.001725&t=h&z=19 zoom out for the interesting pattern of the 5 circular areas surrounding a central building. near to this is another interesting area just 500m South-West of the previous map link:,126.196963&spn=0.001445,0.001725&t=h&z=19
    quite a few other large buildings dotted around as well!
    found this in the 1st 5mins of browsing the map!



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