Yesterday was a big day for us. It was the first time that we ventured into Korea without our quasi~navigator from Canada. We decided to take a trip to Suwon (about 45 minutes north of Anseong), and visit 화성행궁 (Hwaseong Haenggung Palace). So we basically hoped on a bus and went to Pyeongtaek Station. From Pyeongtaek, we took the metro to Suwon, and then took a cab to the palace. In total, I think we spent about 18,000 ₩ for transportation. After we arrived at the palace, we were immediately drawn to a bow and arrow demonstration.
While this was going on, Jenni found a nice old man who spoke English pretty well. This man told us how to get to the fortress, as it was a short hike from the palace. He then recommended that we hang out at the palace for a bit and watch the next demonstration. Gotta love local advice.
The following demonstration was a weapons demonstration where Korean soldiers displayed the various weapons used throughout the eighteenth century. Each soldier was equipped with one weapon and illustrated how that weapon was used in battle.
At the conclusion of the weapons demonstration, we hiked up the mountain located behind the palace to the fortress wall.
Once at the top, we were able to view the city of Suwon in its entirety. What a great view!
The fortress itself was erected in the mid eighteenth century for two reasons. First, it was used to repel enemy forces. This was a direct result of Japanese invasions during the sixteenth century where a great deal of architecture was destroyed. Second, the wall was built to protect the village inside. The wall is approximately 5 kilometers, and encircles most of the village. We walked most of the 5 kilometers, but man is it a long way around!
The wall itself has a number of gates (image 1), Seoichi (turrets/image 2), Seoporu (cannon forts/image 3), Dongbukgongsimdon (watchtowers/image 4), and Bukporu (sentry posts/image 5) scattered along the path.
(Entry Gate/Image 1)
(Cannon fort/Image 3)
(Senty Post/Image 5) notice the beautiful artwork on the architecture
After all was said and done, this was a wonderful experience for us, and I highly recommend doing this to anyone who decides to come visit Korea. Suwon Palace/Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason because it is simply amazing! Take it from a local 😉 –Chris