Hwaseong is a primarily agricultural city in the Gyeonggi Province in South Korea. Gyeonggi is the largest province in the country in terms of total population. The capital of the province is Suwon although the national capital of Seoul is also located in the middle of the province. Incheon, the third most populous city in South Korea, is also located along the coastal portion of Gyeonggi. The most popular tourist attraction in the province is the Hwaseong Fortress, a World Heritage Site in Suwon South Korea. The walls of this formidable fortress surround the center of Suwon. It was built in the late 1700s by a Korean king named Jeongjo to honor the burial site of his father, King Yeongjo. It is located less than twenty miles south of Seoul and is a very popular attraction for people staying in the city, as it is easy and cheap to get to Hwaseong from the city.
The Hwaseong Fortress was constructed in the middle of the reign of the Joseon Dynasty. Dasan Chong Yag-young was the name of the man who developed the plans for the fortress. He was a follower of an architectural and design school of thinking known as Silhak that espoused the practical employment of science and industry in the construction of buildings. While many similar constructions in the past had consisted of little more than defensive walls, the Hwaseong Fortress employs sentry towers, pulleys and levers, floodgates, observation towers, and a whole range of other strategic design components. People from all over the world come to visit this World Heritage Site in Suwon South Korea. It is designated as Historic Site # 3 in South Korea.
If you are staying in Seoul and interested in traveling to Hwaseong to visit this impressive attraction you need simply to take the subway line 1 south. Your destination will be Suwon. What is amazing is that the fare to get from Seoul to Suwon is less than what bus fare costs in most cities in the United States. Once you get off the subway in Suwon, you will have the option getting a cab or taking a bus, but it is only about a 25-minute walk if you prefer to see the sights.
There are four main gates at this castle-like structure: Janganmun, Hwaseomun, Paldalmun, and Changnyongmun. One of the best itineraries for exploring this popular World Heritage Site in Suwon South Korea is to start by climbing the stairs at the south gate of Paldalmun. After you ascend to this part of the Hwaseong Fortress, you will be some 450 feet above the ground. From this position you can walk around the entire perimeter of the fortress which, depending upon the pace you prefer, takes between three and four hours. Explore all of the amazingly well-preserved turrets and observation towers, archers’ decks, and fortress walls. This truly is one of the most impressive sites in South Korea. It took 700,000 men two and a half years to construct and the South Korean government has put over 30 billion dollars into restoring it after portions were decimated during the Japanese invasions and Korean War. If you have a chance to visit South Korea, try to make the short trip from Seoul to Hwaseong to see the fortress.