If you have extra time on your itinerary to Seoul, consider putting Hwaseong in it! Hwaseong is located in Suwon which is below Seoul on the map and is approximately a 1 hour – 2 and a half hours regular train ride from Seoul. An alternative better option to this would be the KTX which is only a 15 minute ride.
The above picture is one of the four gates, Janganmun (장안문). The upper structure was actually destroyed during the Korean war, but thankfully the Korea government restored it.
Hwaseong is a stone and brick fortress of the Joseon Dynasty that surrounds the centre of Suwon city. The massive walls, extends for nearly 6 km. Still intact, there are four gates and equipped with bastions, artillery towers and other features. It was built in the late 18th century by King Jeongjo for defensive purposes. And to form a new political basis and to house the remains of his father, Crown Prince Jangheon.
The Hwaseong Fortress has had a great influence on the development of Korean architecture, urban planning, and landscaping and related arts. Furthermore, it is different from the fortresses in China and Japan. It combines military, political and commercial functions.
A compelling design by Jeong Yakyong, a leading scholar of the School of Practical Learning, characterized by careful planning, the combination of residential and defensive features, and the application of the latest scientific knowledge.
It represents the pinnacle of 18th century military architecture. Hwaseong covers both flat and hilly land, which makes it have a maximum defensive advantage.
As you walk along the Hwaseong fortress, you will notice a few residences.When I saw the residences, I could only imagine what would it be like to live there. Your view direct view is the fortress, a national treasure. What more can you ask for?
A walk around the fortress is a relaxing and gives you the opportunity to appreciate the architecture, culture. In addition to that, it gives you the imagination of how it would be like back then during the Joseon Dynasty.
However, you would like to learn more about the history and culture of the place. They have got you covered. There is a Suwon Hwaseoung Museum nearby.
Suwon Hwaseong Museum
It is a 16 minute walk from the Hwaseong Fortress to the museum.
Here you can learn all you want about the history and culture of the place.
Each ticket costs only 2000won for an adult.
The night view of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
You might not have even thought of going to a historical site at night. To everyone’s surprise including mine, the night view of the Hwaseong Fortress is something else.
The buildings are lifted up perfectly by the lighting, complimenting the amazing traditional architecture. If you watch historical Korean dramas, you might just feel like you are in one.
The pictures of the bell above are one of the famous spots at the Hwaseong Fortress. The bell was made to honor King Jeongjo.You can ring the bell for 1000 KRW!
Overall, the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a highly reccomended tourist attraction. I recommend saving a day just to go around there. It is a huge place and surrounding it are so many other attractions!
Read more: Suwon – Walk on the wall (Hwaseong Fortress)