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The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, also known as the May Day Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, completed on 1 May 1989. Its first major event was the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. It is the largest stadium in the world, with a total capacity of 150,000. The site occupies an area of 20.7 hectares (51 acres).

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium
Location Pyongyang, North Korea
Coordinates 39°2′58″N 125°46′31″E
Capacity 114,000
Field size Main pitch – 22,500 m²

Total floor space – over 207,000 m²

Surface Artificial turf
Opened May 1, 1989
North Korea national football team

North Korea women's national football teamApril 25 Sports Group


Its scalloped roof features 16 arches arranged in a ring, and resembles a magnolia blossom.

It hosts events on a main pitch sprawling across over 22,500 m² (242,200 ft²). Its total floor space is over 207,000 m² (2.2 million ft²) across eight stories, and the lobes of its roof peak at more than 60 m (197 ft) from the ground.


After the 1988 Summer Olympics had been awarded to Seoul, North Korea doubled down its efforts to present itself as the legitimate Korean state. As part of these efforts, it successfully bid to organize the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang in 1989. Massive construction projects were initiated in preparation for the festival, one of which was the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium. At the time of completion, it was the largest stadium ever built in Asia.[1]

While the stadium is used for sporting events, it is most famous as the site of massive performances and shows celebrating Kim Il-sung and the North Korean nation. In June–July 2002 it was the site of a large choreographed "Arirang Festival" gymnastic and artistic performance. The extravaganza involved for the first time some 100,000+ participants—double the number of spectators,[2] and was open to foreigners. These performances are now an annual feature in Pyongyang, usually in August and September. The Guinness Book of Records has recognized these events as the largest in the world.

In the late 1990s, a number of North Korean army generals implicated in an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-il were executed via burning in the stadium.[3]

In 2000 Kim Jong-il entertained Madeleine Albright, the United States Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton.[4] Collision in Korea was the largest professional wrestling pay-per-view event ever that was jointly produced by World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. It took place over a period of two days on April 28 and 29, 1995 at the stadium and had an attendance of 150,000 and 190,000 according to local authorities. It did not air in North America until August 4, 1995. American wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has claimed that the actual combined attendance for the two-day-event was somewhere around 160,000 total.[5]

After a two-year renovation project, the stadium reopened in 2015.

In July 2017, the Rungnado Stadium played host to six group stage matches as part of 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualification.[6]

Notable events[edit]

Annual Events[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cha, Victor (2012). The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future. London: Random House. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-4481-3958-3. 
  2. ^ Watts, Jonathan (17 May 2002). "Despair, hunger and defiance at the heart of the greatest show on earth". The Guardian. London. 
  3. ^ Soukhorukov, Sergey (13 June 2004). "Train blast was 'a plot to kill North Korea's leader'". The Daily Telegraph. 
  4. ^ "Is Kim her next challenge?". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "16 PPVs NOT On The WWE Network – Page 5". 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2016-05-26. 
  6. ^ "Schedule & Results". Asian Football Confederation. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 

External links[edit]


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