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Suwon, Home of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Hwaseong Fortress
1. Hwaseong Fortress Introduction 5. City Tour Bus and Hwaseong Train
2. The Sights at Suwon Hwaseong 6. Tourist Information Center
3. Hwaseong Fortress Highlights 7. Transportation
4. Cultural Experience at Suwon

1. Hwaseong Fortress Introduction

Built by King Jeongjo of the Joseon Era, Hwaseong Fortress is designated Historical Site No.3 by the Korean government. Construction began in January of 1794 and was completed in September of 1796. There were two key underlying reasons for the construction of Suwon City. First, it was to move the tomb of King Jeongjo's father, Sado Seja, a tragic casualty of a political strife. Second, it was to suppress old influences by using the new ones in his favor to construct the new city; thus, strengthening his position as king.

Size and Structure
The circumference of Hwaseong Fortress's wall is an impressive 5.7km long (including the areas that have not been repaired- the repaired walls measure 5.4km) and its height ranges from 4.9m to 6.2m. The rest of the facility contains a little over 50 other structures. Paldalmun Gate, Janganmun Gate, Changryongmun Gate, and Hwaseomun Gate are its 4 main gates, and other structures worth noting are the Ammun Gate, Sumun Gate, Jangdae, Gakru, Gongsimdon, Poru, and Bongdon. In the center of Hwaseong Fortress is the Hwaseong Temporary Palace, where the king sought refuge during times of war and enjoyed restful repose in times of peace.

An interesting point to note about the fortress is that it was planned and built using the ideas of practical science. Hwaseong Fortress was built using the fortress plans of Yakyong Jeong, (1762 ~ 1836), the Joseon era's most eminent scientist. Both stone and brick were used, heavy materials were lifted using a system of pulleys to reduce building time, and the logically distributed defensive structures made effective attacks and defenses possible. It was a pioneering achievement for that era. The use of the pulley system is especially fantastic, because it cut down the estimated building time of 10 years to an impressive 33 months.

The structure was completed in 1796 after 33 months of toil. After its completion, King Jeongjo ordered a publication of a report- 5 years later, the 'Hwaseong Yeokuigwe' was published. This book included drawings of Hwaseong Fortress, its building plans, and names of the carpenters and artists that worked on the structure. This book played a pivotal role in the repair of Hwaseong Fortress after the devastation of the Japanese Invasion and the Korean War. The current Hwaseong Fortress is the result of 4 years of repairs starting in 1975- with the help of the information in the 'Hwaseong Yeokuigwe.'

2. The Sights at Hwaseong Fortress

Paldalmun Gate 팔달문
Paldalmun Gate is the southern gate of Hwaseong Fortress, designated National Treasure No. 402. A crescent shaped 'ongseong' (defensive secondary wall to prevent the main gate from being broken down with logs) is built on the outside of the door. On the right wall of the gate is a nameplate which contains the names of the people involved in the construction of the gate. The Paldalmun Gate is unique in that it is separated from the rest of the gates, and located in the middle of the busy city. The reason for this is because commerce took roots around the gates before its reconstruction, making it impossible to build in that area.
Hwaseomun Gate 화서문
Hwaseomun Gate is the western gate of Hwaseong Fortress, National Treasure No. 403. Over the stone-built Mujigae (rainbow) Door is a single level tower gate. The Hawseomun Gate's ongseong is different from the one at Paldalmun Gate because one side of the crescent is open.
Janganmun Gate 장안문
It is the north gate of Hwaseong Fortress and its main gate as well. 'Jangan' means capital, and it carries the meaning of being a secondary capital. Janganmun Gate is considered the main gate because this is the direction that the king would come from when arriving from Hanyang, the capital city. It is interesting to note that this gate is larger that the Sungryemun Gate in Seoul.
Changnyongmun Gate 창룡문
Changnyeongmun Gate, the eastern gate of the fortress, is similar in shape and size to Hwaseomun Gate. The central item of interest on this gate is the nameplate attached to the left of the gate. The names carved into the polished granite are still clear to this day while the nameplates at the other 3 main gates have faded.
Hwahongmun Gate 화홍문
The Suwon River cuts across Hwaseong Fortress from the North to the South. Water gates were installed on the north and south walls to allow the river to flow through. Hwahongmun Gate is the north water gate of the fortress, containing 7 different-sized arches to let the water through. The central opening is larger than the ones towards the outside, making it easier to control the rainfall. On the hill east of the Hwahongmun Gate lies a fabulously built banghwasuryujeong (방화수류정).
Hwaseong Haenggung 화성행궁
The Hwaseong Haenggung was a temporary palace where the king sought refuge during war and found rest during times of peace. The Hwaseong Haengung is the largest of all temporary palaces in Korea, used by King Jeongjo and the kings who followed.
Seojangdae 서장대
A 'jangdae'(장대) is a raised structure that is used in training the military. Hawseong fortress has two on the east and west side. The western Seojangdae is located at the summit of Paldalsan Mountain, the highest point within the Hwaseong Fortress walls. The location gave the soldiers a great viewpoint of the overall happenings in the fortress while undergoing training. It is sometimes called the Hwaseong Jangdae.
Yeojang 여장
A 'yeojang'(여장) is a shallow 1m wall built on top of the fortress wall to protect oneself from the enemy. It made the wall appear taller from outside and harder for the enemy to see the activity going on within the walls. Small walls in the yeojang made it possible to attack the enemy while being protected by the wall.
Yeonmudae 연무대
Once used to train soldiers; the surrounding area is open, which made it possible to see far out in all 4 directions. Visitors can try 'gukgung' archery at the Yeonmujeong, located next to the Yeonmudae.
Poru 포루
A 'poru' is a tower with holes in the walls, enabling the defenders to attack the enemy from within it. There are wooden towers to shoot guns from and stone towers to fire cannons from.
Ammun Gate 암문
Used as a secret passageway, Ammun Gate was built in the wall, hidden from view of the enemy. It was used to secretly transport weapons, food, other items, and people without letting the enemy know.
Bongdong 봉돈
During the Joseon era, a fire or smoke signal was used to convey urgent information. Bongdon is an area where these signals were originated. There were 5 torches, one lit under normal conditions, 2 at the appearance of the enemy, 3 when the enemy approached the border, 4 when the enemy breached the border, and 5 when the enemy attacked. It is located on the summit of Paldalsan Mountain, next to the Seojangdae training facility.
Gongsimdon 공심돈
Gongsimdon' is a 3-story stone brick structure built on top of the fortress wall. There was a hole in the wall which allowed sentries to keep an eye out for the events outside the walls and, also, to shoot guns from. This is a structure unique to Hwaseong Fortress- no other fortress or castle wall has anything like it.
3. Hwaseong Fortress Highlights
Chongan 총안
The 'chongan' are holes in the 'yeojang' of the fortress walls created so the defenders could shoot at the enemy while protected. What's amusing is the shape of the holes- some are drilled straight outwards ('weonchongan') to shoot at far off enemies, and some are drilled at a downward slant ('geunchongan') to shoot at enemies close to the fortress wall.
Ongseong 옹성
The 'ongseong' is a crescent-shaped defensive structure created to prevent the enemy from attacking the fortress wall. In the past when taking over a fortress depended on bringing down its gates, the enemy would use a log to crash open the gates- but the onseong, a secondary wall built in front of the gates, made that maneuver impossible. These defensive ongseongs are located in front of all of Hwaseong's 4 main. This was an innovation using lessons learned from innumerable years of battle experience. They are called ongseongs because they are crescent-shaped. .
The walls of Hwaseong Fortress were built using rocks that were collected and transported from nearby areas as well as Paldalsan Mountain. Closed inspection reveals that the rocks were carved and pieced together like puzzle pieces. The rocks have a reddish hue because they contain high levels of iron.
Nameplates of the Builders
During the construction of Hwaseong Fortress, it was mandatory for its builders to insert carved nameplates carrying their own names into the walls. There are nameplates present at Changryongmun Gate, Hwaseomun Gate, and Paldalmun Gate with the names of the foreman, stoneworkers, and more. This practice ensured quality work by assigning blame to the builders if a problem with the wall arose. The nameplate at Changryongmun Gate is the most visible.
Fortress Wall Path
Hwaseong Fortress is a circular wall with a circumference of 5.4km (excluding the minimal amount of wall that has not been reconstructed). On the outside, there is a fortress wall path wide enough for two people to walk along. A 2 to 3 hour walk along this path will take visitors around the entire Suwon Hwaseong Fortress wall.

4. Cultural Experience at Suwon

King Jeongjo's Procession and Changing of the Guards
This event recreates the procession of King Jeongjo and the Changing of the Guards at Hwaseong Fortress. The procession takes place from Bongsudang to the front gate. The Changing of the Guards is an exact reenactment of the ceremony that took place during King Jeongjo's times. Participating tourists can try on the guard costumes and take souvenir photos with the actors.
Hours April to October, every Monday and National Holidays, 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM.
Tickets Free
'Gukgung' (National Archery) 국궁
Located on the grassy front of Yeonmudae, Yeonmujeong offers visitors a place to experience 'gukgung', or national archery. Gukgung is Korea's traditional form of archery, different from regular archery because the thumb is used to pull the string. A basic lesson is given in gukgung before visitors try shooting on their own.
Hours 10:00 AM ~ 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM ~ 5:00 PM
Tickets Free
Hyowon's Bell
At the summit of Paldalsan Mountain is Hyowon's Bell, a bell that was created to honor the filial devotion of King Jeongjo towards his father, Sado Seja the royal prince. The bell is always rung three times- the first ring is in gratitude for the love of one's parents, the second in hope for the happiness in one's family, and the third in prayer for self improvement.
Hours November to February 09:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM, March to October 09:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM
Tickets Three rings per person, 1 ~ 2 people 1,000 won, 3 ~ 4 people 2,000 won
Bongdon Bonghwa Torch 봉돈봉화
The torch was used in the past for military communication purposes. 'Bong' means torch, and 'su' means smoke. The torch smoke was used during the daytime and fire was used at nighttime to relay urgent information and the movement of enemy troops. Every 12:00 PM, actors dressed in Joseon army uniforms light torches. On weekdays, only one torch is lit, but on weekends, five.
Hours Daily, at 12:00 PM (About 10 minutes)
Tickets Free

5. Suwon City Tour Bus and Hwaseong Fortress Train

Suwon City Tour Bus
The Suwon City Tour Bus not only provides the chance to see all the main sights of Suwon in one trip, but also includes explanations about Suwon's history and artifacts in foreign languages, (English, Japanese, Chinese) making the tour an ideal choice for tourists. Tickets can be purchased at the Jangsu Travel Agency across from Suwon Station, and the bus can be boarded in front of the travel agency.
Hours Twice daily at 10:30AM and 2:00PM (the tour lasts about 3 hours).
Tour Route Suwon Station -> Seojangdae -> Hwaseomun Gate -> Hwaseong Temporary Palace -> Paldalmun Gate -> Hwahongmun Gate -> Yeonmudae -> Suwon World Cup Stadium -> KBS Suwon Center
Tickets 5,000won
Hwaseong Fortress Train 화성열차
The Hwaseong Train is a tourist train that travels between Paldalsan Mountain and Yeonmudae. The front of the train is shaped like a powerful dragon that signifies King Jeongjo, and the guest cars resemble palanquins that once carried the king during his excursions. The tour course is short compared to the City Tour Bus, and there are no introductions available in foreign languages. The course totals 3.2km and takes about 30 minutes one-way. Tourists can board and exit the train at Paldalsan Mountain, Jangan Park, Hwahongmun Gate, and Yeonmudae, but on Saturdays and Sundays the train only stops at Paldalsan Mountain and Yeonmudae.
Hours 10 times daily between 10:00 PM and 5:50 PM (trains do not run on rainy or snowy days). Trains do not run on Mondays.
Tour Route Paldalsan Mountain (In front of General Gamchan Gang's Statue) -> Hwaseomun Gate -> Jangan Park -> Janganmun Gate -> Hwahongmun Gate -> Yeonmudae
Tickets (one-way) Adults 1,100 won / Teens 800 won / Children 500 won

6. Tourist Information Center

The Suwon Tourist Information Center provides travel-related brochures, maps, and other materials. English, Japanese, and Chinese services are available for travelers' convenience.

Suwon Tourist Information Center +82-31-1330
Tourist Information Center in Suwon Station +82-31-228-2785
Hwaseong Fortress Tourist Information Center
Yeonmudae Tourist Information Center +82-31-228-2763
Seojandae Tourist Information Center +82-31-228-2764
Paldalmun Tourist Information Center +82-31-228-2765
Janganmun Tourist Information Center +82-31-228-2768

7. Transportation

Suwon-si Take the Suwon Subway Line 1, and get off at Suwon Station.
From Seoul Station or Yeongdeungpo Station, get off at Suwon Station (30 minutes).

Hwaseong Fortress Cross the road from Suwon Station and take bus 7 or 5. Get off at the Jangan Park stop (30 minutes).

Date 04/13/2004

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