329 Jangan-dong, Suwon, South Korea
Hwaseong Fortress Suwon Reviews
Hwaseong Fortress Sep 13, 2015
Known as Hwaseong Fortress, it was built in the second half of the 18th century when King Jeongjo started to moved the capital away from Seoul to Suwon – a move which was never completed. Hwaseong was also the old name of the city which was changed to Suwon in 1413. With 5,7 kms length, they are the largest preserved city walls in South Korea. Much of it however is reconstructed as parts of the structure were destroyed in the 20th century during the Japanese Occupation and the Korean War. Hwaseong Fortress was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
There are many spots which deserve some kind of attraction which are described separately on my and on other travellers' sites. This includes gates and towers such Paldamun/Nammun (South Gate) and some smaller attractions like monuments or the chance to strike a huge bell. On my site, the tips are numbered, starting clockwise from Paldamun Gate, All the spots at the fortress are wll explained by boards in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese. Access to the wall is possible at several points. Many people come from the railway station and start clockwise from Paldamun. This gives you the most arduous part (not as arduous as it sounds – it's just an uphill walk) right at the beginning. There are also tourist shuttles (those who look like little trains on rubber wheels) running from close to the palace.
Plan at least three hours for the walls, better half a day. Of course, you can do it in less time, if you skip some parts or just rush through. At the time of my visit, there was no entry fee (September 2015). However, there was one in the past (1000 won, concessions apply) which seems to be back in place. Ask the people at the information/ticket booth for combo tickets (e.g. Palace + Walls).
Many other reviews on this site are related to Hwaseong Fortress. I added numbers to them in a clockwise order starting from Paldamun/Nammun (South Gate). If someone has a good idea on how to organize them here - ideas are welcome.
Part of the Suwon travel blog
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Apr 26, 2007
Hwaseong Fortress is located in Suwon, Republic of Korea. King Jeongjo (22nd King of the Joseon Dynasty) ordered construction to begin in January 1794 in order to honor and move the remains of his father, Crown Prince Jangheon (AKA Crown Prince Sado), from Yangju to Suwon. Construction was completed in September 1796. The short time in construction and the relative low price was attributed to Sihak (a new type of practical learning in the 18th Century). During its construction, the Geojunggi (type of traditional Korean crane) was developed in order to transport the large stones. The architecture combines Eastern and Western influence which sets it apart from other Korean buildings. It consists of forty-eight facilities but seven facilities have not been restored due to destruction from Japanese colonial rule, WWII, and the Korean War.
Entry fee into Hwaseong Fortress is 1000 won (approximately $1) for adults, 700 won for youth, and 500 won for children. Entry fee for Hwaseong Haenggung (which is in the central part of the Fortress) is 1500 won for adults, 1000 won for youth, and 700 won for children. Groups of at least 30 get a reduced rate. The fortress is open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM but closed on Monday. There is a "Performance of 24 Martial Arts" show every morning at 11:00 AM. The weekends has shows from the last weekend in March to November at 2:00 PM. Saturdays feature a show composed of different genres centered on traditional performances that give Suwon's unique sights and activities. Sundays feature the "Jang Yong Yeong (Royal Guards) Security Guards Ceremony". The walk around the fortress is almost 6 kilometers and it normally takes about 2 1/2 hours to walk.
NOTE: On October 8th from 1000-1300 there is re-enactment of King Jeongo's visit to his father's tomb. The march covers some 8 kilometers and about 2000 marchers. It is a reminder of "filial piety".
I have 29 pictures from the Fortress on my travel blog "Land of the Morning Calm - Republic of Korea (July 2005 - July 2007)" located under Suwon.
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