Photos of Suwon Hwaseong Palace, Gyeonggi Province, Korea

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Suwon Hwaseong Palace, Gyeonggi Province

Suwon, the capital and largest city of Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province), with a population close to 1.2 million, lies about 30 kilometres south of Seoul. During the Joseon Dynasty, from 1794 to 1796, King Jeongjo, constructed the Hwaseong Fortress, a fortified wall running around the entire city, to house and honour the remains of his father Prince Sado, who, suffering from mental illness and deemed unfit to be a king, had been executed by being locked alive inside a rice chest by his own father, King Yeongjo, after failing to obey the command to commit suicide. King Jeongjo wanted to make Suwon its capital, to be away from the intrigues that plagued his administration in Seoul.

Hwaseong Haenggung view
 
Sinpungmun, the main gate
 
Jwaikmun, Hwaseong Haenggung
 
In Hwaseong Haenggung
 
Palace attendant
 
Palace attendants
 
Bongsudang, main building
 
Traditional archers
 
Traditional martial arts
 
Swords and rattan shields
 
Brandishing long spears
 
Korean swordsmanship
 
Traditional Korean swords
 
Korean swordsmanship demonstration
 
Swordsmanship performance
 
Long spears display
 
Brandishing a trident
 
Using long tridents
 
Stick fight challenge
 
Long pole challenge
 
Long bladed sword
 
Sword and trident display
 
Carrying a flag
 
Flailing reed bundles
 
Sizing up reed bundles
 
Cutting with one stroke
 
Palace performers
 
Joseon era uniform
 
Martial arts performers
 
Martial arts performers
 
Display of palace attendants
 
The throne hall
 
Display of King Jeongjo
 
Display of a scholar
 
Hwaseong Haenggung
 
Display of a gentleman
 

He had a "haenggung" built, a temporary palace where the king and royal family could retreat during a war: Hwaseong Haenggung, although small when compared to the palaces in Seoul, became the largest of those "haenggung" and was not only used by King Jeongjo and his family in times of trouble, but also when he came to worship at his father's tomb. The palace was the location of a splendid feast held on the 60th birthday of his mother and many other events, including award certificates for successful candidates of special national exams.

The palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, but, because very detailed records of it existed, it could be meticulously rebuilt and visited today. It has splendidly reconstructed buildings - the gates leading into various parts of the complex, the main building, Bongsudang, where in 1795 King Jeongjo celebrated the 60th Birthday of his mother, Hyegyeonggung Hong. Most of Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung was burnt down in the early 20th century, during Japan's colonial rule, but a restoration project began in 1996, marking the 200th anniversary of the construction of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, and it has been open to the public since 2003. A guard ceremony and demonstrations of traditional martial arts in Joseon period costumes are held in front of the Sinpungmun, the main gate.