Google Earth Kim Jong Il

The Palaces of Pyongyang on Google Earth

Congratulations to our friend Curtis Melvin, whose Google Earth imagery of a Kim Jong Il palace in north Pyongyang is currently the Chosun Ilbo’s top story. This palace, I should point out, is one of no less than six very large palaces I know of in the Pyongyang area alone, though I can’t confirm who lives in all of them:




This is the one I posted pictures of previously. A Daily NK piece previously confirmed that it’s one of Kim Jong Il’s palaces. There’s also a small airstrip just a mile away:

Here are a few images of the one depicted in the Chosun Ilbo piece. It has its own private train station:




Off the top of my head, I can also think of two more in Wonsan (also confirmed by the Daily NK) and one up near Paektusan, plus a very large guest house at the Yongbyon nuclear facility. Curtis can probably name several more, and I wish they’d have given him the chance to give a more complete list. Of course, you can always download North Korea uncovered. I’m simply in awe of the amount of detail he’s been able to describe, and it’s great to see him getting recognized for the phenomenal work he’s doing.


  1. Yeah, I was a bit caught off guard by that. We have been plugging away at this for years so I am not sure why this is news!

    Yes, there are lots more of these places…north of Nampo, Sinuiju, Hamhung, Samjiyon, Kumgangsan, Near Pyongsong, Myohyangsan, etc…

    They are all on the Google Earth file…next version coming soon.


  2. Joshua-

    Does anyone do some rough calculations and figure out how big these palaces are (square feet or meters?) Also…is it possible to tell how far from Central Pyongyang they are? Just curious.

    What’s in the out-buildings? Does anyone know? Staff housing? Movie theaters? Food storage? Just wondering.


  3. I just discovered something alarming on google earth. Google Earth now lets you see places at different years. I did kims main one in pyongyang and in 2000 and 2001 it was normal. But in 2004 and 2005 his roof was rusty and dirty and unkept and the pool was empty. But in 2006 it went back to normal because the powerholders painted it to not alarm government satellites that kim may be dead Kim was a neat freak so I think this proves he is dead and the powerholders now have a double. People comment back if you want me to email you pictures.


  4. He is not dead South Korea gets news footage of him all the time and he threatens us with new missiles and nukes all the time and I’m sure if he died another member of the Kim family would take power and do the same thing.



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