Inside North Korea, the world’s most reclusive country

Pyongyang, North Korea( CNN) For merely over a week, CNN’s Will Ripley, Justin Robertson and Tim Schwarz stepped inside the reclusive nation of North Korea.

They were the only Western broadcasters to report from the country since it conducted a ballistic missile exam on February 12, the first one of 2017.

North Korea is one of the poorest countries on Earth. But for many in the capital, Pyongyang, life can be colorful.

Here are the team’s dispatches from Pyongyang as they documented their trip on television and on Instagram.

Welcome to the world’s most reclusive country.

Monday

The team’s last day in Pyongyang took them to a newly completed eye hospital, which they were told was built in six months despite strict international sanctions.A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn )~ ATAGEND on Feb 20, 2017 at 12:11 am PST

They gratified patients who had only recently undertaken eye surgery inside the center, including a number of children.A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn )~ ATAGEND on Feb 20, 2017 at 12:13 am PSTA post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn )~ ATAGEND on Feb 20, 2017 at 12:14 am PST

Back at the hotel, it was time to begin preparing to leave North Korea, but not before one more sunset over Pyongyang’s Taedong River, as seen from the hotel.

Sunset over the Taedong River. #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 20, 2017 at 1:15 am PST

Stepping again onto Air Koryo, the North Korea state-owned airline, the team was given an in-flight meal of shrimp curry, salmon, cured meat, mushrooms, fresh fruits and a brightly-colored beverage that was said to be cider. #NorthKoreaFood Air Koryo in-flight meal Shrimp curry, salmon, assorted cured meats, mushrooms, fresh fruit, “cider”( which savor more like coughing syrup )~ ATAGEND

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 20, 2017 at 2:46 am PST

Will Ripley and the CNN team signing off from Pyongyang.

My ticket home! #AirKoryo #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 20, 2017 at 6:02 am PST

Sunday

In Pyongyang, Sunday is the only day off, so naturally it is a day of fun and family period.

The Pyongyang Zoo has been freshly renovated under the direction of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Tigers at the zoo are given as lavish gifts to North Korea’s leaders.

Tigers at the #Pyongyang zoo are lavish gifts to the #NorthKorea leaders .

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 19, 2017 at 3:24 am PST

These visitors to the city’s aquarium take a picture of the fish on display. Smartphones are becoming increasingly common in parts of North Korea.

Smartphones have become a part of daily life in #NorthKorea, like at this #Pyongyang aquarium

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 19, 2017 at 3:16 am PST

The Pyongyang Natural History Museum was built in merely one year, despite heavy imposing sanctions on the country its nuclear and missile programs.

A tour guide at the #Pyongyang Natural History Museum — built in only one year, despite heavy sanctions on #NorthKorea for its nuclear and rocket programs .

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 19, 2017 at 3:19 am PST

For those who aren’t spending Sunday at the zoo, a couple of giraffe statues will do.

Kids on the playground. #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 19, 2017 at 3:26 am PST

Saturday

Like many other places around the world, weekends are the time for weddings in North Korea. No white garments here today. These garbs are elaborated and brightly colored. A North Korean couple on their wedding day( Pic: Ellana Lee )~ ATAGEND

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 7:02 am PST

A regal bride. Public holidays in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea mean people get married.( Pic: Ellana Lee )~ ATAGEND

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 7:15 am PST

This is how the team spent Saturday night out in Pyongyang: Bowling, local drinks and dried fish. No term on who won.

Saturday night in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea. Bowling, soju…and dried fish .

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 18, 2017 at 6:59 am PST

On Saturday morning, the team visited a secondary school for orphans in Pyongyang.

Students at primary and secondary schools for orphans in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 8: 48 pm PST

Each classroom is monitored remotely to ensure the educators are’ properly’ training their students in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 8: 54 pm PST

North Korean kids learning how to drive in class ..

A post shared by Justin Robertson (@ cnn_justin) on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:53 pm PST

A class of around 70 performing arts students puts on a show in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 8: 52 pm PST

The school relies on a geothermal generator for heating and power.

This # Pyongyang school relies on a geothermal generator to offer consistent heat and electricity, irrespective of outages on the main power grid

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 8: 57 pm PST

Students are taught the ideology of their late leaders, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung.

The headmaster of a secondary school for orphans in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea stands in a classroom where, three hours a week, they learn about the ideology of their late leaders

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 18, 2017 at 4:08 am PST

Friday

The team had a lunch meeting with government officials on Friday.

Quite a lunch spread. Not your typical Northern korean snack. #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 5:07 am PST

They also carried out some interviews at a floating restaurant.

The floating Rainbow Restaurant in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 5:04 am PST

After that they visited different construction sites around Pyongyang. The building in the photo is a 70 -story apartment block that the North Koreans are racing to finish by April 15.

70-story apartment building under building in #Pyongyang #NorthKorea

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 5:03 am PST

This shot captures a twilight view of the capital. Evening. #Pyongyang #NorthKorea( Pic: Ellana Lee )~ ATAGEND

A post shared by Will Ripley (@ willripleycnn) on Feb 17, 2017 at 9:08 am PST

Thursday

Thursday in Pyongyang ended with fireworks to celebrate what would have been the 75 th birthday of late leader Kim Jong Il.

The Day of the Shining Star is a two-day celebration packed with concerts, fireworks and military showings. It doesn’t appear that the sanctions leveled against North Korea have affected the pomp and circumstance of its big national holiday.

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