Fascinating pictures show what the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea looks like from both sides (35 Pics)

  • Eric Lafforgue is a photographer who documented the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea
  • He visited the North side six times, and the South side twice, and said the experience is not what many expect 
  • Security is tighter in South, he said, were visitors are often banned from taking pictures or talking to soldiers
  • Different sides give different versions of history to the roughly 100,000 people who visit every year

  • It is called the Demilitarized Zone - but in fact this narrow strip of land between South and North Korea is one of the most heavily militarized places on the planet. Now a fascinating new set of photographs compares the view over this four-kilometer-wide stretch of no-man's-land from both sides, with some surprising results. Pictured: A North Korean colonel points at a map of the border in Panmunjom, North Korea

    While visitors might expect security to be tighter on the North side, in fact the South Koreans are far stricter about who gets to visit, according to French photographer Eric Lafforgue. Pictured: A woman salesman stands in Ginseng Shop in Kaesong, North Korea

    Mr Lafforgue visited the North Korean half of the DMZ - as it is known - six times between 2008 and 2013, and the South Korea side twice in 2016 and earlier this year. Pictured: Children using binoculars in front of the 'Bridge of Freedom' over the Imjin River between North and South Korea in North Hwanghae Province, Panmunjom, South Korea

    Three soldiers on the demarcation line in Panmunjeon, North Korea. Approaching from the South Korea side by bus, no pictures are allowed, Mr Lafforgue said. Visitors are also told not to wear revealing clothing or display tattoos in case they are photographed by soldiers from the North and used as propaganda - to show how people from the South are 'degenerates'

    While the highway from the North is lined with huge concrete slabs, which can be pulled down to block the road in case of an invasion, restrictions on visitors are far more lax. Pictured: A North Korean soldier in the DMZ

    Photographs are allowed on the North's side, Mr Lafforgue says, and there are fewer restrictions on what people can do. In the South, visitors are banned from speaking with the soldiers or bringing various items with them. In the North, no rules apply. Pictured: Anti-tank concrete blocks in North Korea

    Another interesting point of comparison is a guided talk given on both sides about the infamous 'hatchet incident' in which two American soldiers trimming down a popular tree were hacked to death by North Korea soldiers. Pictured: An electric fence designed to stop North Koreans fleeing into the South 

    On the North side, guides will tell visitors that the Americans violated their territory and began hacking at a tree planted by Kim Il-Sung, the country's founder, forcing them to act. Pictured: Children look over the Bridge of Freedom 

    Meanwhile, on the South side, visitors are informed that the Americans were killed without any provocation. Pictured left: The armistice agreement between the two sides.

    A South Korean soldier in the joint security area on the border between the two Koreas, North Hwanghae Province

    South Korea also bans visitors from making any sudden movements or gestures, especially in the direction of North Korea, as they say this could be interpreted as a sign of aggression, causing those in the North to open fire. Pictured: A tourist poses on the South Korean side of the DMZ

    But while the North might seem more open to visitors, in fact Mr Lafforge is currently banned from going back to the country after some of his pictures were deemed offensive to the regime. Pictured: A North Korea soldier informs Mr Lafforgue that pictures are not permitted 

    A South Korean soldier stands guard in the Joint Security Area in North Hwanghae Province, Panmunjom, South Korea

    A tourist jumps for a photo along the DMZ on the South Korean side

    South Korea soldiers stand guard by their blue huts along the DMZ 

    Road signs on the way to the DMZ in Sudogwon, Paju, South Korea. One of the signs points the way to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea 

    Red, green and blue: The giant DMZ sign in the third infiltration tunnel in North Hwanghae, South Korea

    A miniature version of the DMZ, as displayed in South Korea 

    Messages of peace and unity written on South Korea flag ribbons left on the fence at the DMZ in North Hwanghae Province

    A South Korean guide points at a third infiltration tunnel map. It is one of four known tunnels under the border. It was supposedly designed for a surprise attack on Seoul from North Korea

    Third infiltration tunnel CCTV cameras in North Hwanghae Province, South Korea

    A billboard in Dorasan train station, North Hwanghae Province, South Korea with Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, written on it 

    Dorasan train station entrance in North Hwanghae Province, South Korea. The line was used until December 2008 to transport goods between the two Koreas before relations deteriorated 

    The station has a tourist ship selling DMZ-themed goods 

    The Reunification Train Station in the Kaesong Area of North Korea

    North Korean soldiers walk past a poster along their country's side of the DMZ  

    A picture displayed on the North Korean side of the DMZ showing the hatchet incident - during which two American soldiers were killed 

    Dummies of soldiers stand by South Korean and American flags on the South Korean side of the DMZ. In the centre is the flag of the United Nations 

    The visitor declaration that must be signed before visiting the DMZ on the South Korean side of the border 

    Advertising can be seen on a bus for the DMZ tour on the South Korean side of the border 

    Pictured: Some of the souvenirs sold at the DMZ on the South Korea side of the border 

    A tourist takes a selfie as troops behind him pose for a picture on the South Korean side of the peninsula's DMZ

    A North Korean colonel stands by a map of the DMZ. To his left are pictures of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, two of the three presidents to have ruled over the totalitarian Stalinist state 

    A group of tourists in the joint security area on the border between the two Koreas

    What a view: A North Korea soldier gestures towards South Korea as seen from Panmunjom, North Korea
    Fascinating pictures show what the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea looks like from both sides (35 Pics) Fascinating pictures show what the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea looks like from both sides (35 Pics) Reviewed by Your Destination on October 12, 2017 Rating: 5

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