Rungrado May Day Stadium

Capacity114 000
Country North Korea
Inauguration 01/05/1989
Construction 1986–1989
Renovations 2014
Record attendance 190 000 (wrestling, 1995)


Rungrado May Day Stadium – stadium description

The national stadium of North Korea was built as a response to Seoul’s Olympic Stadium as part of rivalry between the two countries. Construction took 2.5 years, not long for the building’s immense scale. Upon opening its capacity was set at 150,000, the largest in the world. Inauguration took place on May Day preceding the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students.

Most spectacular element of the stadium is its roof. Should official data be correct, it covers 94,000sqm, which is double the figure of previous record-holder King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh. 11,000 of steel supports the outer sheets, forming 16 petal-shaped segments. They span 60 meters inside the stadium and 40 meters out. The entire structure is 60m high.

By shape it resembles a parachute and – in a different symbolic connotation – a magnolia flower. The unique roof was noticed and awarded first prize during the 1988 International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva.

Its stands are far more conventional, forming two large rings. Part of the lower one is based on landfill, while the remainder supports what may be one of the largest training complexes ever built. With total floor space of over 200,000sqm the stadium provides numerous facilities, including running tracks, swimming pools and indoor halls, where sportsmen prepare during the year.

Because of its scale, the stadium the stadium saw many great events, setting the world attendance record for wrestling at 190,000 spectators in 1995. Though, ironically, not used for large football and athletic events as much as it should, it also houses the annual Arirang festival. It also saw the public execution of generals plotting against dictator Kim Jong Il in 1992.   



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