Published: May 3rd 2010May 3rd 2010
This is our last trip here. Next week we will be back in our home in India. As we are staying in Suwon ( for hubby's work) we had thought of visiting Hwaseong before we leave. Hwaseong Fortress is the official fortress of Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do province. There are four gates in each direction: the north gate called Janganmun, the south gate called Paldalmun, the east gate, Changryongmun, and the west gate, Hwaseomun. A stream passes by the fortress, and where the water meets the fortress, they built Sumun gates. There are seven arch-style Sumuns, and above it a pavilion called Hwahongmun. As one of Korea's best known cultural heritages of 18th century, the fortress was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. You can get more info here
We got down at Paldalmun(South gate) and walked towards the Tourist Info center at left. Both the sides are covered with shops but it was same like Namdaemun etc in a smaller scale. Then we followed people who were climbing the stairs to the top thinking it was the way. But there are too many steps and from what I had seen in the map( we got one Suwon map from the
station long back,it helped now. You can get it from Info center too) it didn't lead to the Haenggung which was our destination. I had seen from diff sites there are many events performed in front of the gate. There is a 24 types martial arts performance daily at 11am and Guard changing ceremony (includes 53 guards) at 2pm. But we got late while reaching so missed the Martial arts performance. Then got tickets and saw the palace. It was actually not much to see. Same type structures like Deoksu but in smaller scale. We then left the place and started for the Suwoncheon stream. The whole fortress is a huge place(in area). Inside it is like a part of city only with schools, church, resturants. Just the structures present in fort remind us of the history behind it. The stroll next to the stream was really nice. With the spring setting in,the flowers have started to bloom and it looks beautiful around. We spent some time at Hwahongmun with taking little rest at sitting places nearby and having a tasty ice cream in the hot afternoon. The we started towards Yeonmudae which is famous for experiencing Korean Traditional Archery.There
are pathways in the hilles and in the road as well. And when we reached there we saw huge line at ticket counters. Later we got to know that to get a ride in the small trolley trains, you have to book ticket there. And there was counter to get tickets for archery as well. Hubby and I got our tickets and waited for our turn. In our previous batch of group, I saw only kids doing it and some men but rarely any girl. I was kind of apprehensive at first. But then I thought of as a life time experience and to get most out of it, just have fun. And so did I. Had a great time shooting(none hit the target but it striked the ground and stuck there, felt like a scene from some mythological serial) :-) and taking snaps. I did terribly in the whole thing but had a great fun doing it. Hubby kind of finished his arrows before time and when I asked why he told he kind of got in the moment that enemy in front of you, shouldn't waste time in how to hold the thing, the white arrow should point
outwards but to get in the mood and just shoot. He had his share of fun too:-) ... After this great experience we strolled towards the east gate which was nearby. Spent some time there in the top of the tower. The view was great of the city and the breeze was very nice. After that we decided to call it a day since it was 3.30 pm and we were hungry. We came near home and had nice Japanese lunch of Ramen and chicken fry.
One more week and we will be at home. Though I am waiting eagerly to get back, but this experience will be memorable as it was our 1st long trip just after wedding. And in some ways I will miss Korea for sure. These 3 months were great with so new and exciting experiences for us. Will wrap up this tour blog by saying 'Visit Korea once and you will be amazed by the finds here'. Go Korea!!!
There are more photos below