The mysterious fake town on North Korea’s border
From the outside, the North Korean village of Kijong-dong looks like any other town, brightly painted houses, schools, daycare, even a hospital.
But on closer inspection, all is not as it seems.
Sitting in the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, Kijong-dong is widely referred to as the “Propaganda Village” and is believed to be a decoy for luring South Korean defectors.
Built in the two-and-a-half-mile wide DMZ that was set up in 1953 as an armistice to end the Korean War, the town claims to have 200 residents and boasts an image of economic success.
However, observations from the south have suggested that Kijong-dong is fake and is devoid of human life.
The buildings are actually concrete shells with no glass in their windows, electric lights operate on an automatic timer, and the only people in sight are maintenance workers who sweep the streets to give the impression of activity.
Named Peace Village by North Korea, it has been used by the government as a battleground for supremacy between the two powers.
In the 1980s, the South Korean government built a 321.5-foot-tall flagpole in the opposite city of Daeseong-dong to antagonize the north. This was quickly countered by North Korea, which built a 525-foot-tall flagpole in response. It was at the time the tallest in the world.
Until 2004, massive loudspeakers delivered DPRK propaganda broadcasts to the south that praised North Korea’s virtues and urged disgruntled soldiers and farmers to walk across the border.