Hwaseong Fortress

Hwaseong Fortress at Suwon, South Korea
Hwaseong Fortress at Suwon

Hwaseong Fortress is a fortified wall surrounding the center of Suwon to honor Prince Sado, the father of King Jeongjo. In 1789, the remains of Prince Sado, who was sentenced to death by his own father King Jeongjo, were moved to this location. A fortress known as Hwaseong was ordered to be built to honor and protect the remains of Sado.

Construction began in January 1794 with the help of designer and architect Jeong Yak-yong. In September 1796, construction was complete. The project utilized new technological advancements in construction and was fully paid for by the government. In the end, it took over 700,000 man hours to complete.

Hwaseong consists of a defensive fortress and a wall that is 5.74 kilometers (3.57 miles) long and 4-6 meters (13-20 feet) high. At the time of construction, the wall surrounded and protected the center of Suwon. Access to the city was controlled by four main gates : Changnyongmun, Hwaseomun, Janganmun, and Paldalmun.

King Jeongjo also had other reasons to build the Hwaseong. He believed Suwon had potential to be a prosperous new capital. He tried to move the capital city from Seoul to Suwon, which in the end proved to be unsuccessful.

Dongjangdae at Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon
Hwaseomun Gate at Hwaseong Fortress
Hwaseomun Gate

During the Korean War, Hwaseong was heavily damaged. Reconstruction was started in 1970s. Thanks to well kept construction records, Hwaseong was able to be restored to its original state. Since then, routine maintenance has occurred.

Hwaseong Fortress became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

Walking along the wall on snowy steps at Hwaseong Fortress
Walking along the wall on snowy steps at Hwaseong Fortress on a winter day

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