There are a lot of monuments in Pyongyang, and as you soon learn, all revolve around the achievements of Kim Il-Sung. The first monument we visited was the Arch of Triumph. You probably think that this arch looks quite similar to that one in Paris, and you would be right, EXCEPT THIS ONE IS BIGGER AND TALLER! This “bigger and taller” obsession is something you become quite accustomed to when touring the DPRK, as there are plenty of buildings and monuments around Pyongyang that were built to shatter world records while simultaneously devouring a significant amount of the country’s GDP.
As for the history behind the Arch of Triumph, I found this Korean Central News Agency (the DPRK’s state news agency) article which perfectly summarizes its significance:
The stone monument was unveiled in April of Juche 71 (1982) in reflection of the deep desire of the whole Korean people to convey to the posterity the revolutionary feats of President Kim Il Sung, who had successfully achieved the historic cause of the liberation of the country and returned to Pyongyang in triumph.
The Arch of Triumph with 60m in height and 50.1m in facade width and 36.2m in side width has four stories. The first and second stories are separated with a balcony and the second, third and fourth stories have diminishing flat roofs.
The words of the revolutionary paean “Song of General Kim Il Sung” are carved in the middle of the arch. Also engraved there are Mt. Paektu, the ancestral mountain of Korea, and “Buglers of Guerilla Army”. Beneath them there are the words “1925″ and “1945″ reflecting the revolutionary history of the President shining along with the liberation of the country and sculptures on subsidiary themes are embossed.
The Arch of Triumph encourages the Korean people to the efforts to shine the immortal exploits of the President in the liberation of the country through generations and build at an early date a great, prosperous and powerful nation of Juche under the Songun revolutionary leadership of Kim Jong Il.