EVEN IN YEARS without worldwide pandemics, visiting Pyongyang is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for most of the world’s population. But it could be argued that the Pyongyang Architectural Map, the newest such guide from the UK’s Blue Crow Media, is the perfect map for 2020: with travel being such a fraught prospect for the foreseeable future, the role of travel literature (including physical maps) has shifted from supplementing actual journeys to partially or fully supplanting them.
Like the other maps in the series, which focus on modernist and brutalist architecture in major cities worldwide, the Pyongyang map serves first and foremost as a full-color architectural guide, with one side dedicated to photos of noteworthy buildings accompanied by information, and the street map on the opposite side serving more a more secondary purpose.
This is not to suggest that those who actually do visit the city (and even, in theory, permanent residents of Pyongyang) would not find it useful: with its text in both English and Northern-dialect Korean and its easy-to-read street map, it’s likely the clearest and most up-to-date guide to Pyongyang’s modernist buildings in existence. Whether you visit the Hermit Kingdom in person (or much more likely, as an armchair traveler), this map is the perfect introductory guide to some of the world’s most controlled and curious architecture.
Pyongyang Architecture Map
Blue Crow Media, £8