One of Sunday on December, 2015. Accidently I joined a city tour of Suwon that I thought it was the normal way to see some museum, but it is out of my expectation that the ancient part of the old city still keeping so well and so famous that became The World Heritage.
To begin with, we meet at Suwon station exit 4 where Suwon Tourist Information Center to get on the bus, about 3hours tour under a friendly tour guide’s explanation, with different language which includes Korean, Japanese, Chinese and English.
The 1st stop is Heawoojae museum which also call Mr. Toilet House, it quite surprises me to see this kind of exhibit hall. The shaped like a toilet which showed the model and the creative of toilet; such as painting on inside of toilet house, Lego form a toilet and other make up of toilet. The garden of toilet house shows the history and the culture of toilet through the related sculptures. It is true that toilet used to build at outside of our house but now it moves onto our house and even on our room. This is true that restroom really give us the private.
The 2nd stop is Suwon Hwaseong Haeggung is the Palace surrounding by the fortress that was built on 1796; with about 576 rooms of palace that used to the place for King Jeongjo stay, and later it becomes government office unit 1996 open to public, we are so luck to have the change to see the traditional show in front of Sun Fung House (the square of Hwaseong Haeggung), this special performance by the soldiers whom use real weapons to flight for each other that we only thought it’s props for the performers. This is also the main part of Hwaseong fortresses, so let’s start our journey to get into more than two hundred years of different part of fortresses by now.
About 6 kilometers length fortress was built to include elements of a wall, defensive fortress, and town center, the four main gates (which included North, South, East & West) being used as the gates for the town. Almost all parts of the walls and gates are well-maintained and the whole circuit wall can be walked easily via the Four main gates.
The 3rd stop is Hwahongmun, also called Hwahong Gate or North Water Gate; the river go through the center of the Hwaseong city, and it divides by the gate wall; city and country side between it. Stroll alone the wall probably put you back to the ancient fortress.
The 4th stop is on The East Gate called Dongjandae (Yeonmudae). It used to be a military post where troops were trained and commanded, this area seen still keep same as 200 year ago without much change, only have the modern road and car go through the gate. Ramble alone the wall is the way to explore the place and release your stress.
And the last stop is Suwon Hwaseong Museum that give us clearly understand the history of Suwon Hwaseong city, the whole picture from its ancient lift style and the construction of the city. I believe nowadays we can still get the expression on this unique fortresses after two hundred years. That’s why it become one of the world heritage site at 1997.
Actually after visited the museum, I would like to explore the whole fortresses more deeply on foot. It takes about 3 hours to go through the entire fortresses. Due to 3hours tour only stop 20 to 30 minutes each place which give you the roughly idea each place. In face, it is fixable to get off the bus earlier (such as South gate call Paldalmun where located at center of city) if you like a place. For the West gate call Seojangdae where is next to the palace on the top of Paldal mountain (is the highest mountain on Suwon) that only reach it on foot. You can even enter the palace after the tour if you want to, the nice tour guide can give you the ticket if you have not time to enter during the tour.
The Suwon Hwaseong Curse takes about 3 hours and 2 times a day (10:00, 14:00 except Monday)
Suwon City Tour Reservation
Written by Powah Liu