UNESCO World Heritage: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

Locating just half an hour away from Seoul, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress offers a unique cultural experience in South Korea. Constructed from 1794 to 1896, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress was designed by a leading scholar with careful planning, incorporating the best examples from Europe and East Asia. The fortress wall stretches 5.7 km long with 4 gates, a main stream in Suwon flowing through the center, firearm bastions, artillery towers, flood gates, observation towers, and command posts.

Today, there is a main road going through the north and south gate and the stream is still running. The fortress was designated as Historical Monument in 1963 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Paldalmun of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress in South Korea 南韓水原華城八達門
Paldalmun is the south gate of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, also the starting point of the fortress hike if you come from Suwon Station.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress 水原華城
If you are ready for a hiking challenge, you can take the south-west trail up. There’s a ticket booth on the right.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress ticket
The fortress viewing fee is KRW 1,000. This sticker is the “ticket” that gets you to walk around the fortress without being stopped for another payment. There are 7 ticket booths around the fortress near the major view points.
走在城牆是要收費的,1,000 韓元,這貼紙是「通行票」,最好貼在不容易脫掉的當眼位置,掉了要再買票。城牆範圍很大,在主要的觀景位置都有售票處。
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress 水原華城
The south-west side wall is the steepest part, hence the toughest walk to start.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress 水原華城
The trail is beautiful but it’s a real hike. Be well prepared for this section of walk.
Western Sentry Post 西舖樓
The Seoporu (Western Sentry Post).
Hyowon's Bell on the top of Mount Paldal 八達山頂孝園敲鐘
Ever thought about experiencing striking the bell of Hyowon? You may pay KRW 1,000 for a round of 3 tolling (1-2 person).
Mt Paldal 八達山頂
This is the top of Mt Paldal which is the view point of Suwon.
Hwaseong City 華城市
The panoramic view of Hwaseong city.
Seojangdae of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress 水原華城西將台
This is Seojangdae (west command post) where King Jeongjo commanded military training.
Nodae 西弩台
Standing at the top next to the Command Post was Nodae (Crossbow platform) where catapults were launched.
Stairwell connecting the Palace and Mount Paldal
There is a stairwell going down till to the Palace and the main area where the restaurants and shops are.
Path downhill of Mount Paldal. 八達山下山步道
There are trees everywhere, very nice.
Suwoncheon Stream 水原川
If you choose not to take a tough hike up the Mount Paldal, you may simply follow the main stream of Suwon (Suwoncheon) to go the Palace or the North Gate (Janganmun).
Hwahongmun Gate 華虹門
Hwahongmun Gate is the flood gate featuring 7 arches. This is also where Suwoncheong Stream goes though.
Janganmun 長安門
Janganmun is the north gate of Hwaseong Fortress. It is a two-storey building featuring an outer curved brick wall to enhance protection. Spears, guns and arrows could be launched from the upper level.
Banghwasuryujeong 訪花隨柳亭
Dongbukgaknu (Banghwasuryujeong Pavilion) is my favorite area of the whole fortress.
Bangkwasuryujeong Pavilion 訪花隨柳亭
The pavilion offers a nice shades, fresh breeze and a fantastic view of a lotus pond and a mountain view.
Kate Wu at lotus pond
Of course I would not miss taking picture in this beautiful area!
Suwon Hwacheong Fortress 水原華城
You may choose to walk outside the fortress wall which is also nice. But it’s right next the roadside.
Suwon Hwacheong Fortress 水原華城
There is an extended area outside the fortress wall that is also designated as protected area. So it’s all green around the wall!
Dongjangdae Command Post 東將台
Dongjangdae Command Post is not enclosed and not sure if it’s open for public.
Traditional Korean Archery 國弓體驗
The east command post was where the military training was held. There’s also an archery field where tourists can experience traditional Korean archery. 10 shots cost KRW 2,000.
Changyongmun Gate 蒼龍門
Changyongmun Gate is the east gate of the fortress.
Cannon 大炮
Walking almost the whole 5.7 km long fortress wall, I saw only 1 cannon on display.
我差不多走完 5.7 公里城牆,終於看到一台大炮。
Bongdon Beacon Mound. 烽火臺。
Bongdon Beacon Mound.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress 水原華城
I really enjoyed the walk through Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. It’s a unique UNESCO World Heritage in many ways: very clean, well maintained, no trash any where, no crowds, and there are still people living in and outside the fortress wall!
Dongporu Firearms Bastion. 東炮樓。
Dongporu Firearms Bastion.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress 水原華城
After you walk pass the Beacon Mound, this is about the last section of the south east wall. There is still restoration in the last section so you will have to walk down and get back to Paldalmun.

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