2. Pyongyang, North Korea
Pyongyang looks like a city designed by student architects who had never gotten a look at the real thing. Given North Korea’s secrecy and travel restrictions, that might actually be the case. Whoever the city planners were, they seemed to embrace pointlessness. Buildings appear to have been plopped down at random, and large modern-looking highways lead absolutely nowhere.
Then there’s the awesome ugliness of the Ryugyong Hotel. This 105-story monstrosity is wildly out-of-scale with anything else in the city. Esquire magazine readers decided the 3,200 room hotel the “Worst Building in the History of Mankind.” Others call it the “hotel of doom.”
A few brave souls who ventured inside and smuggled reports out have claimed that the elevator shafts are crooked and the walls are bare concrete. Even in North Korea that doesn’t equate to luxury accommodations.
Spare a sympathetic thought for the residents of Pyongyang. Living in a brutal regime. Economic hardship. Cut off from the rest of the world. Having to watch the Beloved Leader and his awful haircut. And when you look to the skies, the world’s ugliest hotel is gaping back at you.