Hwaseong Fortress
Hwaseong ( Brilliant Castle/ Fortress), the wall surrounding the centre of Suwon, the provincial capital of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, was built in the late eighteenth century by King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty to honour and house the remains of his father Prince Sado, who had been murdered by being locked alive inside a rice chest by his own father King Yeongjo having failed to obey his command to commit suicide. Located 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Seoul and enclosing much of central Suwon including King Jeongjo's palace Haenggung, UNESCO designated the fortress a World Heritage site in 1997. The Suwoncheon, the main stream in Suwon, flows through the centre of the fortress.

Hwaseong Fortress was built over two and a half years, from 1794 to 1796 according to the designs of the architect Jeong Yak-yong, who would later become a renowned leader of the Silhak movement. Silhak, which means practical learning, encouraged the use of science and industry and Jeong incorporated fortress designs from Korea, China and Japan along with contemporary science into his plans. Use of brick as a building material for the fortress and employment of efficient pulleys and cranes were also due to the influence of Silhak. Construction of the fortress was also a response to the collapse of the Korean front line during Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea. At the time, the dominant model for building fortresses in Korea was to make a simple wall for the city or town and a separate mountain fortress to which the people could evacuate in times of war. However, this fortress was built to include elements of a wall, defensive fortress, and town centre, the four main gates being used as the gates for the town. The arrow-launching platforms built along ramparts with crenellated parapets and battlements were defensive elements of the fortress while the wall also held secret gates for offensive actions. The fortress took 700,000 man-hours to build and cost the national treasury 870,000 nyang, the currency at the time, and 1500 sacks of rice to pay the workers. In the past, government work had been carried out by corvée labour, but in this case workers were paid by the government, another sign of Silhak influence. King Jeongjo apparently built this fortress to prepare for a move of the capital from Seoul to Suwon. Suwon was purported to be strategically positioned to connect Seoul with the Yellow Sea and China. The king wanted to leave the fracticious strife of the court to carry out reforms and believed that Suwon had the potential to grow into a new and prosperous capital. To encourage growth, he ordered people to move to Suwon at considerable expense and exempted them from taxes for ten years. King Jeongjo also ordered public work, such as the building of educational facilities to better facilitate the city as a capital. A white paper, "Hwaseong Seongyeokuigwe" (Records of Hwaseong Fortress Construction), was published in 1800, shortly after Jeongjo died. It has ten volumes and proved invaluable for the reconstruction effort in 1970 after the fortress had been severely damaged during the Korean War. The volumes were divided by subject, the first covering the plans for building, including blueprints and a list of supervisors. The next six volumes detail the actual implementation of the building, such as the royal orders and records of the wages of the workers. The final three volumes are supplements and detail the construction of the adjoining palace, Haenggung. Manpower was allocated by speciality, dividing workers by trade, categorising them as foremen, stonemasons, labourers, etc. The records also detail the amounts of different materials used.

Overview of Structures

Four gates
The fortress has four gates: Janganmun (north gate), Hwaseomun (west), Paldalmun (south) and Changnyongmun (east). Janganmun and Paldalmun are the largest of the four main gates and resemble Seoul's Namdaemun in roof design and stone and woodwork. Indeed, Janganmun is the largest gate in Korea. Both the north and south gates are topped with two-storey wooden pavilions, while Hwaseomun's and Changyongmun's, those of the west and east gates respectively, have only one storey. The four main gates are encircled by miniature fortresses, which were manned by guards.

The wall is 5.74 kilometres (3.57 mi) in length and varies between 4 to 6 metres (13–20 ft), originally enclosing 1.3 square kilometres (0.5 sq mi) of land. On flat terrain the wall was generally built higher than that on either of the two hills over which it passes, as higher walls were seen as less necessary along hilltops. The parapets are made of stone and brick, like most of the fortress, and were 1.2 metres (4 ft) in height. Although the southern section between the south gate and the location of the former south floodgate has not been restored, the remaining ninety percent is well-maintained and can be walked on foot.

Other structures
There were originally 48 structures along the wall of the fortress but seven have been lost to flooding, wars, or wear and tear. The fortress today features a floodgate, four secret gates, four guard platforms, two observation towers, two command posts, two archers' platforms, five firearms bastions, five sentry posts, four pavilions, a beacon tower and nine turrets. There were originally three watchtowers, but only two remain, both three-storeyed and with distinctive wooden pavilions on top and embrasures for guns and lookouts. The beacon tower has five chimneys to make different signals with smoke or fire. When one was lit it signalled peace, two meant the enemy had been spotted, three warned that the enemy was approaching, four meant the enemy had made it into the city, and five signals lit was an alert that fighting had begun.

The structures along the wall are listed below in anti-clockwise order beginning in the south, as the South Gate is the most accessible by public transport.

South Gate (팔달문)
37°16′39″N 127°01′01″E  /  37.2775°N 127.01694°E  / 37.2775; 127.01694 Paldalmun, known locally as Nammun (South Gate), sits in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road in central Suwon. Its stone base is capped with a two-storey wooden pavilion surrounded by a stone wall. A small, semi-circular protective wall known as an ongseong, is located on the south side (outside) of the gate. The gate also houses a bell called Paldalmun Dongjong, which was originally cast in Gaeseong in 1080 and was refounded in 1687 by Dohwaseung, the chief priest of Manuisa Temple for use in Buddhist ceremonies. 123 cm tall and 75 cm in diameter, it hangs from a dragon-shaped suspension ring, has a flue pipe to set the tone and has a slightly curved body - features which are typical of Korean bells of that era. This particular bell's flue pipe has a design of the dragon's tail entwined around it and is topped with a lotus flower. The top of the bell has a line of Sanskrit words around it, while the bottom is decorated with arabesque designs. The decorative nipples are interspaced with Bodisattvas holding lotus flowers. The bell is very similar in design to that in Tongdosa, the bell at which differs notably from Paldalmun's only in size.

South-East Gate Guard Platform (남동적대)
Both the south and north gates originally had guard platforms to either side. Today, only those beside the north gate remain.

South-East Observation Tower (동남공심돈)
Dongnam Gongsimdon, like that standing by Hwaseomun, was an observation tower standing beside the Suwoncheon. It is part of the section of Hwaseong which has not been restored.

Namsumun (남수문)
Namsumun, meaning South Floodgate, sat across the Suwoncheon at the downstream end of the city walls. The gate was a little over a kilometre from Hwahongmun, the gate at the upstream end. Construction began on February 28, 1794, was interrupted, but continued in November 1795, the structure being completed on March 25, 1796, but having been fully operational since completion of its basic structure on January 16 that year. The bridge had nine arches for the water to flow beneath: two more than Hwahongmun because of increase in flow. Above the bridge there was a large brick structure instead of the usual gatehouse, as this section of Hwaseong was one of the most vulnerable. This took up two thirds of the space above the arches, the remaining third being the bridge. The structure was destroyed completely by a massive flood in July 1922.

South-East Pavilion (동남각루)
37°16′42″N 127°01′11″E  /  37.27833°N 127.01972°E  / 37.27833; 127.01972 Dongnam Gangnu, the south-eastern pavilion, sits on top of a small rise above the former location of Namsumun. Its location serves its purpose as a lookout tower well, as much of Hwaseong and the area outside to the south and east can been seen from here.

East Turret 3 (동삼치)
37°16′44″N 127°01′13″E  /  37.27889°N 127.02028°E  / 37.27889; 127.02028 Dongsam Chi, the third eastern turret, lies halfway from the south-east pavilion to the second eastern sentry post. Like other turrets, it extends a short distance perpendicularly from the wall to enable guards to see and attack assailants who had already reached the fortress.

East Sentry Post 2 (동이포루)
37°16′49″N 127°01′14″E  /  37.28028°N 127.02056°E  / 37.28028; 127.02056 Dong-i Poru, the second eastern sentry post, like other sentry posts, is a wooden structure sitting on a turret. Construction of this post was completed on July 3, 1796 and it was intended to defend the beacon tower. For this purpose, it extends further out from the wall than the north-western sentry post. It also lacks wooden front doors.

Beacon Tower (봉돈)
37°16′53″N 127°01′17″E  /  37.28139°N 127.02139°E  / 37.28139; 127.02139 Bongdon, the beacon tower, sits midway from Paldalmun to Changnyongmun. It is located intentionally in direct line with Haenggung so that the king could see its signals. Smokes and lights were used to signal the state of threats. The southernmost of its five chimneys was used during peacetime.

East Turret 2 (동이치)
37°16′57″N 127°01′20″E  /  37.2825°N 127.02222°E  / 37.2825; 127.02222 Dong-i Chi, the second eastern turret, like the other nine turrets around Hwaseong, allowed soldiers to look out in many directions along the exterior of the wall. Unlike the other two eastern turrets, the outer corners of this structure are rounded, the others forming sharp right angles.

East Sentry Post (동포루)
37°17′01″N 127°01′23″E  /  37.28361°N 127.02306°E  / 37.28361; 127.02306 Dong Poru, the eastern sentry post, lies between the two eastern turrets. Construction of the post was completed on July 16, 1796. As with other sentry posts in Hwaseong, the interior is of multiple levels to allow various angles for firearms and other weapons.

East Turret 1 (동일치)
37°17′05″N 127°01′27″E  /  37.28472°N 127.02417°E  / 37.28472; 127.02417 Dong-il Chi, the first eastern turret, is the first turret south of the first eastern sentry post, lying 148 metres (486 ft) along the wall towards the beacon tower.

East Sentry Post 1 (동일포루)
37°17′09″N 127°01′28″E  /  37.28583°N 127.02444°E  / 37.28583; 127.02444 Dong-il Poru, the first eastern sentry post, was completed on July 10, 1796. Like the second eastern sentry post, it extends further from the wall than most posts.

East Gate (창룡문)
37°17′16″N 127°01′31″E  /  37.28778°N 127.02528°E  / 37.28778; 127.02528 Changnyongmun, known locally as Dongmun (East Gate), sits by a major road junction. Its stone base is capped with a one-storey wooden pavilion. The gate was destroyed during the Korean War, but was reconstructed in 1975.

North-East Crossbow Platform (동북노대)
37°17′20″N 127°01′31″E  /  37.28889°N 127.02528°E  / 37.28889; 127.02528 Dongbuk Nodae is one of two crossbow platforms in the fortress and is situated within reach of the east gate and has a wide field of view as it sits on a corner of the wall, enabling archers to target assailants from many angles.

North-East Observation Tower (동북공심돈)
37°17′22″N 127°01′28″E  /  37.28944°N 127.02444°E  / 37.28944; 127.02444 Dongbuk Gongsimdon, meaning the north-east observation tower, is situated beside Changnyongmun. Oval in shape, its three stories stand 6.8 metres (22 ft) tall. The roof is accessible by an internal spiral staircase

East Command Post (동장대)
37°17′18″N 127°01′23″E  /  37.28833°N 127.02306°E  / 37.28833; 127.02306 Dongjangdae, meaning eastern command post, stands next to Dongbuk Gongsimdon, facing Changnyongmun across an archery field. When the king was in residence in Haenggung, within the fortress walls, there were two generals and four soldiers on guard in this command post at all times. (There were five night shifts.) Each officer was armed with a bow and arrow, sword and baton. The command post is nicknamed Yeonmudae, a reference to its second function as a training camp.

East Secret Gate (동암문)
37°17′14″N 127°01′17″E  /  37.28722°N 127.02139°E  / 37.28722; 127.02139 Dongammun, the eastern secret gate, situated 140 metres (459 ft) from Dongjangdae, was used for passage of people, animals and munitions. Construction of the gate, which sits beneath a brick structure surmounted with a large round parapet, was completed on March 25, 1796.

North-East Sentry Post (북동포루)
37°17′15″N 127°01′11″E  /  37.2875°N 127.01972°E  / 37.2875; 127.01972 There are two structures with the name Bukdong Poru in the north-east of the fortress. This particular post stands between the north and east secret gates.

North Secret Gate (북암문)
37°17′14″N 127°01′07″E  /  37.28722°N 127.01861°E  / 37.28722; 127.01861 Bukammun, or officially the third north gate (제3북암문) is the only remaining secret gate of the three originals. It lies close to the north-east pavilion.

North-East Pavilion (동북각루)
37°17′15″N 127°01′06″E  /  37.2875°N 127.01833°E  / 37.2875; 127.01833 The north-east pavilion is known as Dongbuk Gangnu and nicknamed Banghwasuryujeong. It sits above Yongyeon, a pond surrounded by a small garden. It was originally intended to be the second battle command post, though its scenic location made it a place favoured instead for feasts.

Hwahongmun (화홍문)
37°17′15″N 127°01′04″E  /  37.2875°N 127.01778°E  / 37.2875; 127.01778 Hwahongmun, otherwise known as Buksumun, is the gate under which the Suwoncheon flows on entering the area encompassed by Hwaseong. (It formerly exited through Namsumun, but this gate no longer exists.) The gate has the obvious function of being a bridge, but also housed cannons for defensive purposes. The Suwoncheon was widened at this point and the gate has seven arches through which it passes.

North-East Sentry Post (북동포루)
37°17′19″N 127°01′00″E  /  37.28861°N 127.0166667°E  / 37.28861; 127.0166667 Bukdong Poru is the name of two structures, both of which are sentry posts in the north-east of the fortress. This post sits between Janganmun and Hwahongmun and serves the same purpose as the other sentry posts around Hwaseong. It was completed on September 23, 1794.

North-East Turret (북동치)
37°17′21″N 127°00′54″E  /  37.28917°N 127.015°E  / 37.28917; 127.015 Bukdong Chi, the north-eastern turret, sits immediately to the east of the north-eastern gate guard platform.

North-East Gate Guard Platform (북동적대)
37°17′21″N 127°00′53″E  /  37.28917°N 127.01472°E  / 37.28917; 127.01472 Bukdong Jeokdae is a platform immediately to the east of Janganmun. It housed a cannon to protect the gate and its ongseong.

North Gate (장안문)
37°17′20″N 127°00′51″E  /  37.28889°N 127.01417°E  / 37.28889; 127.01417 Janganmun, known locally Seen from Dong-i Chi Doorway From the wall Northern chimneys from inside Southern chimney from inside The exterior The north side The exterior The entrance Seen from Dong-i Chi Seen through a hole in Dong-i Chi The exterior Inside the turret The exterior Looking south from the post The exterior The western face Nighttime view of the western face The southern side The eastern face Seen from outside Seen from outside Inside face seen from the south The north corner of the outside face Dongbuk Nodae and Dongbuk Gongsimdon seen from outside the walls From the east From the south-west Nighttime view from the south-west Nighttime closeup from the south-west From outside the walls Internal spiral staircase seen through window from outside The southern side Nighttime view of the southern side The eastern side Annexe just below the main building Gateway on the western side Outside face Outside face seen from the north-east Door seen from outside Inside face Interior seen from the west The interior seen from the wall to the west The exterior seen from the wall to the west The gate and the north-east pavilion The gate seen from the walls Outside face Inside face Daytime view Nighttime view Seen from the Suwoncheon Closeup Seen from Yongyeon Outflow from Yongyeon a few metres downstream from Hwahongmun Level view Closeup of wall The north side From the path beside the Suwoncheon (upstream) The north side in snow View downstream The south side in snow From the west The west side From the wall See from the west in snow Outside

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