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World's Most Mysterious Buildings

Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

With only about 1,500 Western visitors annually, all of North Korea is pretty mysterious. The Yanggakdo sits on the tip of its own island in the Taedong River and offers   diversions to its business and tour-group clientele: a revolving restaurant, a tea room, a bowling alley, a sauna, and a karaoke lounge.

Mystery: The elevator buttons in this 47-floor tower skip the fifth floor, leading to speculation that it has equipment that monitors the guestrooms, public spaces, and the basement casino. Some tourists posted a video of their aborted investigation of the floor’s dark hallways.

Visit: After getting a visa (hint: don’t be a journalist) and booking a mandatory tour package, visitors enjoy the constant company of two guides, who share government-approved information with you—and apparently often share your information with the government. But for novelty and intrigue, Pyongyang can’t be beat.

—Ann Shields


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