Suwon, Republic of Korea

General Information

Regional secretariat

Administrative status

Capital of the Gyeonggi province

Hwaseong Fortress

Registration Year

1997

Historical function

Military

Location and site

When the Joseon King Jeongjo moved his father’s tomb to Suwon at the end of the 18th century, he surrounded it with strong defensive works, laid out according to the precepts of an influential military architect of the period, who brought together the latest developments in the field from both East and West. The massive walls, extending for nearly 6 km, still survive; they are pierced by four gates and equipped with bastions, artillery towers and other features.

Urban morphology

The massive walls of the fortress, which are 5.74 km in length, enclose an area of 130 ha and follow the topography of the land. The Suwoncheon, the main stream in Suwon, flows through the centre of the fortress.

The walls incorporate a number of defensive features, most of which are intact. These include floodgates, observation towers, command posts, multiple arrow launcher towers, firearm bastions, angle towers, secret gates, beacon towers, bastions and bunkers. There are four main gates at the cardinal points. The Paldalmun Gate in the south and the Janganmun Gate in the north are impressive two-storey wooden structures on stone bases, flanked by gated platforms and shielded by half-moon ravelins built of fired brick. They are linked to the main road running through the complex. The west (Hwaseomun) and east (Changnyongmun) gates are single-storey structures, also protected by ravelins.

Registration criteria

Criterion (ii): Hwaseong Fortress represents the pinnacle of 18th century military architecture, incorporating the best scientific ideas from Europe and East Asia brought together through careful study by scholars from the School of Practical Learning. It demonstrates important developments in construction and the use of materials that reflects the interchange of scientific and technical achievements between the East and West. The fortress had a great influence on the development of Korean architecture, urban planning, and landscaping and related arts.

Criterion (iii): Hwaseong combined traditional fortress building methods with an innovative site layout that enabled it to deliver defensive, administrative and commercial functions. Hwaseong is a testimony to the rapid social and technical developments of 18th century of Korea.

Historical reference

  • It differed from the fortresses in China and Japan in that it combined military, political and commercial functions.
  • Its design by Jeong Yakyong, a leading scholar of the School of Practical Learning, was characterized by careful planning, the combination of residential and defensive features, and the application of the latest scientific knowledge. It represents the pinnacle of 18th century military architecture, incorporating ideas from some of the best examples in Europe and East Asia.

Source: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/817/

Photos

Contact

Mr. Jae-Joon Lee

Mayor of Suwon
Suwon City Government

241 Hyowon-ro, Paldal-gu
Suwon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea
16490

+82-31-228-2101
[email protected]

Ms. Soo-hyun Kim

Curator
Suwon City Government

241 Hyowon-ro, Paldal-gu
Suwon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea
16490

+82-31-228-3085
[email protected]