In keeping with my tradition of leaving Cheonan for a day without any planning, I went to Suwon for a few hours to check out the UNESCO world heritage site, Hwaseong Fortress.
The city section of Suwon looks nearly identical to Cheonan. It has the same chain coffee shops, architecture, bus drivers who seem to enjoy giving passengers whiplash, and the same fashion trends.
But Suwon has a mega fortress surrounding the city. There are sections of the fortress you can just walk onto and take a little hike on an ancient building while still being in the middle of bustling Suwon.
The fortress was built in the 18th century by King Jeongjo. According to the UNESCO site, he built in order to create a new political center of the country. And if you’re a king, you probably want your house surrounded by some big walls.
I found some stairs next to one of the walls and climbed up.
The fortress is also where King Jeongjo decided to house the remains of his dad. I’m not sure if his dad is still hanging out there though, I might have missed the sign that said “King’s dad buried here”.
There was a mini park and playground up on one of the hills where the wall was. If you got sick of hiking, you could take a rest or let your children run around on the playground.
There was an area that showed a replica of the King’s quarters. The main visitors were elderly hikers and young families. The people my age walking around were probably fellow history nerds. There were some English descriptions, but I thought most of them were vague. My Korean is not good enough to understand history terms on the Korean signs.
I saw probably only 1/16 of the whole fortress. Maybe next time I’ll grab some hiking shoes and walk the whole wall.