The Central Korean history museum opened its doors in the district of Moranbong in 1945, before moving to the Kim Il-Sung Square along Sungri Street in 1977. The current building which is topped by a bugle-ringing soldier was built in 1960 in a neoclassical style on a square base and with a portico at the front. The foyer (main hall) is covered with white/grey marble and is the pride of the local population. According to official figures, the Museum spans over 10 429 M2 and exhibits nearly 4 000 objects within 19 halls.
The first halls are devoted to prehistory, a period where (and especially perceived) North Korea had evolved. The archaeological discoveries made at Komunmoru’s site in Sangwon, East of Pyongyang, are mainly discovered. An updated cave in this region in 1966 would demonstrate that the geographical area was already inhabited by Homo erectus a million years ago. The explanations of the guides are sometimes unconvincing, but it must be remembered that in North Korean propaganda, mankind was born on the peninsula, so it is necessary that the area was inhabited during the said period. Another room exhibits rudimentary tools and bones of the so-called Ryokpho, Tokchon, Sungrisan and Mandal men. The next room treats the Neolithic period. There are 9 000-year-old plows and large jars decorated with branches and FIR-thorn motifs, as well as some discoveries showing the passage from picking to agriculture, and then to a sedentary lifestyle. A reconstruction of a cone-shaped semi-underground hut is visible and represents the habitat of the men of the time. The visit continues in the most interesting halls: those presenting a mock-up of the tomb of Tangun, the legendary King of Korea, as well as his remains and his portrait that serve as evidence (very slight) to his existence. Other vestiges of this period are visible: a mock-up of the dolmen No. 10 of odokhyong (Yonthan, Hwanghae of the North), a star-shaped axe acting as a scepter and daggers in the form of lute.
In 2006, 90 of these cultural treasures were presented at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul as part of a temporary exhibition; it is certainly the most important cultural exchange that has occurred between these two countries.
Please note: the Museum is not always open to tourists, and even when it is the case, photos are not allowed.
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