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Construction began on Hwaseong Fortress in the late 18th century by King Jeongjo, and the fortress wall has been designated Historical Site No. 3 by the Korean government and was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1997. The total length of the walls (included the 250-meter stretch that has not been restored) is 5.7 kilometers, making for a leisurely day trip or a quick half-day trip.
My wife and I first visited Hwaseong Fortress some time around late 1996 or early 1997—before we were married, at any rate, and before the fortress was added to the World Heritage List. Sites on the list, of course, may receive funding from the World Heritage Fund. This recognition and funding has allowed the authorities to make Hwaseong Fortress a much more interesting place to visit by doing such things as restoring and opening up certain structures to the public.
When we first visited the fortress, we lived in Seoul, and Suwon was a good distance away. This time, though, we were able to drive there in only twenty minutes. We started at the east gate of the fortress and completed a clockwise circuit, stopping for lunch near the south gate. We also wanted to visit the temporary palace in the city, but unfortunately it was closed for the holiday. I guess we’ll have to save that for the next trip. All in all, it was a fun day, and I got some nice photos, a selection of which you can see here.
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(27 September 2004)