Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spending an Afternoon at 51th Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival

One of the regional festivals in Korea that is very attractive aside from its uniqueness is located in Suwon City, the Hwaseong Cultural Festival.

Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in Suwon was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1997. It is a large fortress that is 6m high and 5.7 km long. Haenggung means a shelter where a King rested or retired from a war.

Brief history: In the 18th century, Prince Sado was the second son of King Yeongjo of Joseon Dynasty. He become mentally ill and was royal decreed to be murdered by locking alive and starving inside a rice chest after failing to commit suicide. He died and was buried at Mt. Baebong in Yangju-si. In 1789, his son King Jeongjo moved his remains at Hyeollyungwon and built the new Suwon city and constructed the city fortress. King Jeongjo completed the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in 1796 and it served as his temporary royal palace during his visit to his father's tomb. King Jeongjo also throw a party for soldiers to commemorate the 60th birthday of his mother.

When I came here, there is a Food Culture and Beauty Festival. Visitors can try foods such as beef barbecue and some traditional foods from Korea, China, and Japan.

A grand ceremony is about to start after the five-day festival. And it is said that the King had made some preparations to return to the palace.

Sinpungnu Pavillion at Hwaseong Haenggung Palace

Sinpungru, Main Gate of Hwaseong Haenggung Palace

The Zelkova tree

This Zelkova tree is said to be more than 600 years old and very sacred. It protected the Suwon city since before the construction of Hwaseong Fortress.

Three Ways
The way to Bongsudang is splited into three roads and the middle one is wide and slightly high. Side roads were used for subjects, right one for civil officers and left for military officers. Eodo, the King's road, in the palace was allowed to use only for the King.

King Jeongjo's place
This place is to show where King Jeongjo meet his vassals and rest upon arrival at Hwaseong Haenggung. Yuyeotaek is the original place for King Jeongjo but the scene has been reproduced here at Bongsudang for visitors's convenience.

King Jeongjo inscribing a plaque
This building was constructed in 1794 (18th year of King Jeongjo's reign). King Jeongjo inscribed and named as Jangnakdang after Jangnakgung, the residence of an empress Dowager in Han dynasty.

Experience of Hwaseong Fortress Construction
Locals and foreigners can experience joining the construction of Hwaseong Fortress, which reflects King Jeongjo's reformative mind.

This place was built to enshrine a portrait of King Jeongjo in a military uniform. Hwaryeongjeon means "Return to pay respects to parents".

Shin-yeon (Spiritual Carrier)
A Shin-yeon refers to the palanquin used to carry the Shin-baek, a wooden sign representing a deceased king or queen during a royal funeral ceremony.

Naknamheon was a specially designed facility for various events. It is the only building of the temporary palace which was not destroyed and still maintained in its original form.

Po-sa refers to facility which acted a role as a beacon informing impending danger for residents in the fortress.

at the back where the Food festival is being held

Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is also dramatically popular because of the Korean TV Drama "DaeJanggeum", known as "Jewel in the Palace". Some scenes of young Janggeum were filmed here undergoing training in the palace for cooking competition, training of women doctors, and Naeuiwon, medical facility of the palace.

ORBITA. Tradition Tightrope Walking

Some traditional Arts Group from Suwon's sister cities in Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Romania stage diverse performances at Sinpungru.

I'd kept  a lot of unforgettable memories here in Suwon City especially in the Hwaseong Fortress. equipped with ancient traditional heritages.

These are only a few things you can find when you visit Suwon. There's a lot more. Suwon Hwaseong Festival offered me its best attraction, a journey of fun-filled adventure all by myself. When I left the place, I was armed with stories and memories to share to everyone.

If you want to visit the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, you may take the Suwon Station Seooul Subway Line 1, Exit 6. Cross the road, turn right, and walk 100m to the Yeokjeon Market bus stop. Take Bus 7, 7-2, or 32-1 and get off at Hwaseong Haenggung.

By Bus:
1. Jamsil to Suwon
Take Bus 1007 from Jamsil station (subway Line 2) and get off at the Hwaseong Haenggung station. The first bus leaves at 5:00 am and comes every 8-12 minutes.

2. Gangnam to Suwon
Take Bus 3000 from Gangnam station (subway Line 2) and get off at the Buksu-dong station. The first bus leaves at 6:00 am and comes every 20 minutes.