Hwaseong Fortress is a highlight in 18th century military architecture, combining features from East and West.
This fortress in the city of Suwon was established in September 1796. The Emperor Chongjo moved his seat of government to Mount Paldal in Suwon, and he encircled it with strong defensive works laid out according to the precepts of an influential military architect of the period, who brought together the latest developments in the field from both east and west.
The site consists of 48 monuments in total: the massive walls, four gates, bastions, artillery towers, and more. It partly was burnt down during the Japanese colonial period and the Korean War, but renovation works in the 1970s restored it to its former glory.
Visit September 2001
The fortress is still quite intact: a lot of different towers, four gates and the city wall can be seen today. The best thing to do is walk the city walls - then you pass all sights. This tour is about 5.5 kilometers long, but will take you an hour or two because of the steep climbs involved.
Because of the burning heat at the day I visited the site, I did only half of the tour. Still worthwhile though: as most of the monuments I visited in Korea it is renovated very well.
|Thibault Magnien (France):|
The Hwaseong Fortress, located in Suwon, 30km from Seoul, is an ancient edifice built at the end of the 18th century to prevent the kingdom from its numerous enemies. It uses elements from both occidental and oriental architectures. That makes this building unique compared to any other Korean fortifications.
Today, you can visit the fortress for free, walking over the walls, from one guard tower to another and passing by the four gates of the complex. To get to the wall, you firstly must climb the hill but this worth it. You will enjoy a great view over the city and above all, you will discover walk by walk the architecture of this fortress and the different places of importance. Thiz site is for my part one of the better WHS in South Korea.
| Date posted: March 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
Sometimes things just come together to make a visit a little more enjoyable. That was the case with my visit to Suwon to see this fortification.
I had already had an interesting morning trip to crazy world of the DMZ, so used the hour long metro ride south to recharge my batteries and admire the stunning clear crisp autumn day shining on the endless suburbs of Seoul. The train station at Suwon has a nice model of the fortress so I knew what to expect. I jumped on a bus and disembarked at the south gate which is now a traffic island and being restored. From here it was a surprisingly steep climb up for a few minutes, but by the time I had made my way to the top I was back in the bright sunshine and could really start to appreciate the impressive fortifications winding along the top of the hill. I really enjoyed this stretch of the walls. At one of the many pavilions on the walk I bumped into a group of school children who were learning English. They taught me about the history of the fort which was really nice and I found out their teacher was from just down the road from me when I lived in Dublin.
I carried on walking around the whole loop of the ramparts, enjoying the magnificent weather and taking an inordinate amount of pictures. The northern end of town offered some lovely pavilions and gates, so was very photogenic. The eastern side mostly looked out across the suburbs taking in the huge cathedral like Suwon First Church. I completed my lap and headed off into the local shops in search of something tasty to eat, and this being Korea, my options were plentiful and confusingly so were a large amount of shops selling second hand clothing.
It took me about 2.5 hours to do a lap, but if your time is limited I would recommend getting a bus to the Northern gate then heading to the Banghwasuryujeong Pavilion (Fredrickís picture below) before back tracking for the more strenuous hike along the western parts of the wall as I found those bits the most interesting.
This was perhaps the most enjoyable WHS visit I had in Korea, mostly thanks to the wonderful weather and the chance to get in a bit of a hike, but also the fortification is pretty impressive and a worthy WHS.
[Site 7: Experience 8]
| Date posted: November 2011|
|John Booth (New Zealand):|
My visit to Hwaseong happened to coincide with the Hwaseong Festival in October. As a result I was rewarded with seeing the spectacular buildings of the Haenggung adorned with people dressed in traditional costumes and performing traditional rituals.
To avoid a longish walk I took either buses 11, 13, 36 or 39 from the station to and from the fortress. Besides the metro, there are faster mainline trains from Seoul to Suwon.
| Date posted: May 2010|
|Kyle Magnuson (United States of America):|
Hwaseong is the best preserved Fortress in Korea. The Walls surround the city center of Suwon. There are countless Fortresses in Korea, many spectacular, but if you only have time for one, make sure that it is this one. I walked the entire wall, its a fun couple of hours, nice views, interesting stops along the way, and a fair bit of excercise. The Fortress is also conveniently only a long subway ride from Seoul.
| Date posted: February 2010|
Hwaseong Fortress, the place I fell in love with. If you want to experience what this World Heritage Site has to offer, you have to stay there for at least two days and one night (I keep coming back there for three consecutive days and two consecutive nights). Experience all the performances from 24 Martial Arts performance to Security Guard Ceremony (happens from Tueday-Sunday all year round). Also, walking around the walls from inside the fortress and then outside, daylight and nighttime, is a must.
To go inside the palace, it only takes KW1,500. Hotels around the fortress is about KW40,000/night.
| Date posted: May 2009|
|Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):|
Just approximately one hour by metro system from Seoul is Suwon, at first sight this is another typical modern Korean city with big railway station, lots of high rise apartments and wide avenues; it seem to be no reason to visit this place, but until you reach the city center to discover the amazing city wall and fortress of Hwaseong.
Hwaseong was built in 18th century to protect the new city and royal mausoleums with special technique and design influenced by China and Europe making it one of the first civil engineering in Asia to be constructed under the concept of east meet west. Hwaseong was once a circular city wall, but sadly after wars and public neglect, the southern part of city wall was completely demolished, except the city gate of Paldalmun, and is now look liked a big horseshoe protecting the city center.
From my observation, most of tourists start their visit from Paldalmun, the southern gate, and hike up to the peak of Mount Paldalsan for city view resulting exhausting experience and have to unexpectedly end their wall walk, I highly recommended skipping the Mount Paldalsan part and start your trip from the photogenic western gate of Hwaseomun and walk along the wall passing Janggamun, the northern gate, and the beautiful and unique Hwahongmun which has small stream pass under until you reach the pretty Banghwasuryujeong Pavilion and its beautiful park.
The city of Suwon was also nice with many good tourist attractions and restaurants; Suwon is also famous for its galbi or Korean barbeque. All in all I really enjoyed my trip to Suwon and Hwaseong Fortress and hope everyone who visit South Korea should visit this city and its small Great Wall of Korea.
| Date posted: May 2008|
|C H Ho (Hong Kong, China):|
Actually, it is a circular wall with 4 large towers at 4 directions. This is a little Great Wall in Hwasong. I have walked half of the city walls. I enjoyed the view to the city so much at the top of the hill in the west parts of the walls.
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