Built during the second half of the twentieth century, Pyongyang is the jewel of the North Korean  regime. Reduced to ashes during the Korean War, the city was reborn in a blink of an eye with the  intention of becoming the magnificent showcase of socialist Korea. Its triumphant atmosphere, the  superhuman scale, spectacular palaces and monuments try to cover the shortcomings of a country in  constant competition with South Korea. The rivalry between brother Koreans often acted as an  incentive to continue embellishing, at any price, the "capital of revolution," though it was often, for the  vast majority of North Korean society a blind competition, since, due to decreed information blackout  in the north, it was impossible to know what was being built in the southern half of the peninsula.      This magnificent architectural theatricality dramatically squeaks next to the hardships suffered in  the nineties, but like it or not that is the artistic legacy of the revolution carried out in the preceding  decades. Since coming to power of Kim Il Sung, in 1945, the North Korean construction experienced  several ups and downs. After a slow start, with just a handful of new and relevant buildings, a total  destruction arrived between 1950 and 1953. In the years following the armed conflict, North Korea  staged a stunning reconstructive gallop culminating in the Golden Age.    Despite the alarming symptoms of economic stagnation, the period spanning from 1970 to 1989  was the most prolific. The architectural gigantism reached its zenith. This golden era coincided with  three key factors. It was then that Kim Il Sung placed his son to oversee the artistic production. The  arts became more than ever a powerful weapon of mass instruction. From that time the glorification of  Kim Il Sung went beyond all imaginable limits. Innumerable constructions were erected in his honor.  Also, following the constitutional reform of 1972  Seoul was finally dismissed as a hypothetical capital  unified state. Pyongyang finally stopped being considered as a provisional capital and it became  urgent to beautify it as best as possible.    The history of architectural creation in North Korea has a very clear common denominator: the  overwhelming subordination of art to the interests of politics. The Juche idea establishes ideological  corset which is difficult to take off if one wants a career. An architect is not expected to produce exotic  designs nor extreme inventions. He is simply asked and required, to adhere to the stylistic guidelines  validated by the party or by the Leader himself, who is responsible for defining the ideologically  "healthy” formal canons.