According to legend, the city was founded in 1122 BC. The Han Empire established commanderies here in 108 BC, which lasted for 400 years. After they were abolished, Koguryŏ moved its capital here in 427. The Tang Empire destroyed Koguryŏ and put Andong Commandery in P'yŏngyang (668-676). In 676 it was wrested by Shilla but left unattended.
The capital has been completely rebuilt since the Korean War (1950-1953). The city is designed to look quite modern with wide avenues, and monolithic buildings. The two-line underground metro system was built in 1970s. There is also a tram and trolleybus service. In the middle of the city is the uncompleted, 1,080 foot Ryugyong Hotel. This hotel has 103 floors and a few pavilions for rotating restaurants; however, construction has been stalled for years.