Until April 15, 2012, foreign tourists in North Korea were never allowed to see the country's massive military parades. The usual procedure when such an event is scheduled is to have foreigners evacuated from Pyongyang during the parade and ferried off to other parts of the country for sightseeing and hotel stays. But the 100th anniversary of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung's birth in 2012 brought in the largest number of foreign delegations ever permitted in the country at the same time, and its meager tourist infrastructure was barely able to keep up. Hotels all over the country were booked solid, which meant that the usual practice of taking tourists outside of Pyongyang during the parade was not possible. The backup plan was to take foreigners to the Taesongsan Fun Fair during the parade to keep them in a somewhat sequestered, isolated area on the city's outskirts. For the lucky few who "accidentally" found themselves on the wrong side of the road when the streets were shut down for the procession of tanks and other military hardware, a once-in-a-lifetime treat was in store.
Below are several pictures I took that day, but very quickly I learned that photographs weren't going to do the experience justice. For me, the sounds of the parade were just as spectacular as the sights, so I decided to shoot some video as well. The tanks were unbelievably loud as the cruised by just a few feet away, and the ground literally shook beneath our feet.
For a couple video clips I uploaded from the parade, please click here and here .