UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

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UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

In almost all my travels, I partially depended on the research of my travel buddy on the what’s and where-to when in a given destination.  The bits and pieces of information is a puzzle until we arrive and estimate the time to be spent for each landmark inclusive of transits.

While in South Korea, the plans of skiing and going to a national park in the mountains were ditched.  Fortunately, we had back-up plans and off we go to quite a distant area yet a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We arrived at the City of Suwon after a series of subway line transfers and was relieved to see a fortress-like structure.  We were at one of the main gates of the palace, the Paldalmun.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

PALDALMUN GATE

Paldalmun Gate is the southern gate of Hwaseong fortress, designated as National Treasure No. 402.  Located in the middle of the city, the gate is quite unique that it is detached from the rest of the gates.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

Commercial area surrounds the gate with interesting food finds and bargain merchandise.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

HWASEONG TEMPORARY PALACE

In an unexpected detour, we reached a famed palace known for the beauty of Joseon architecture – Hwaseong Temporary Palace.  And the palace is even made familiar as it is the cinematographic location of the Korean drama, Jewel in the Palace.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

At the entrance gate, we were greeted by life-sized cardboard cutouts of the famed Jang-Geum of the Korean drama.  It felt surreal. 

Hwaseong Temporary Palace is called as Hwaseong Haenggung.  Haenggung refers to a temporary palace where a king would stop for a short stay during a journey.  Hwaseong Haenggung is the palace where King Jeongjo frequently stayed to visit his father’s tomb in Suwon-si. 

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

Roof details and architectural design of the palace is just awesome. The rooms on the varied buildings that surround the palace complex also serves as a museum with wax statues of palace personalities depicting their routines.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

HWASEOMUN GATE

From the Hwaseong Temporary Palace, we walked towards another interesting gate that serves as an observatory deck as well.  This is actually the most photographed part of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and oftentimes made as the representation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Suwon Hwaseong Fortress.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

Along the way, gardens and a laidback rural community with murals on some portion were a good sight.  It was refreshing and relaxing to pass through the streets of Suwon.

The rainbow-shaped arch gateway is surmounted by a one-story wooden octagonal pavilion surrounded by a stone wall and where a watchtower stands on one end.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

The area is surrounded by residential houses made of bricks comprising a small quaint community.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

EXPERIENCE TRADITIONAL KOREAN ARCHERY

For our last stop, we passed by the Suwon Chicken Street through a bridge overlooking the stream.  And we did not eat fried chicken.  The walk continues until we reached the Dongjangdae (Command Post).

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

The Suwon Dongjandae Command Post (Yeonmudae) is where King Jeong-Jo’s army practiced their martial arts.  Guests are given the chance to try out Gukgung, the traditional art of archery.  It costs 2,000KRW on a one-time chance for 10 arrows.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS AND THE PALACE

While there are a lot of activities to engage with while at the fortress compound, our short stint was enough of an introduction for this vast acre of land designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How To Get to Suwon

The most convenient is through the subway station.  Take the Seoul subway line 1 (blue) south – Cheonan line.  Ensure that you are on the correct section of the train as it later splits and travels on two separate lines: the Incheon line (west) and Cheonan line (south).

At Suwon Station, get on the intra-city bus 11, 13, 13-3, 36 or 39 at Exit 4, Suwon Station (North square) and get off at Hwaseong Temporary Palace and Suwon palace bus stop.  On the opposite side of Suwon station (go through underpass) get on intra-city bus 60, 660, 700-2, 7 0r 7-2.


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