Hwaseong Fortress: the West Gate, and the Really Big North Gate


I went north of Paldalsan to continue clockwise around Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, which is a World Heritage site.

Gyeoggi Province is in northwestern South Korea, and Suwon is in the southern part of the province.

In this post, I will describe the West and North gates, as shown in the map below:



My guidebook advises walking outside of the wall for at least one section so you could see Hwaseong Fortress just as an enemy would have seen it.


There is the north-west pavilion, as seen from outside the fortress.


And here I reach the West Gate.


It looks massive.

The observation tower at the West Gate

The observation tower at the West Gate

This observation tower was built with cutting-edge technology of late 18th century Joseon, and King Jeongjo is said to have specifically praised its excellence. It is one of the most representative structures of Hwaseong Fortress – photographs of this tower are often used as a symbol of the fortress.


The fortress walls go well with the autumn colors on the trees.


And now we reach the structure which impressed me the most – the North Gate.


It has that curvy outward design so that a) it would be easy to patrol the entrance of the gate with observers and people who could shoot enemies and b) it would be difficult for an enemy to storm the gate, they would have to twist around, slowing them down while they were exposed to fire from crossbow archers / musketeers.


Just the size was enough to awe me.


It’s a great place to spy on enemies trees decked out in fall colors.


There’s also a turret for cannons.


Did I mention that this gate is BIG?





I think the wall/gate has been modified after Joseon times to accommodate modern South Korean traffic.


If you go through the gate, and look up at the ceiling, you see this…

A painting full of dragons and clouds

For me, this gate is the highlight of Hwaseong Fortress. But there is plenty more to see, so I will continue in the next post with one of the water gates and the most beautiful pavilion in the fortress.



About Sara K.

Sara K. is an aromantic asexual from California who has previously lived in Taiwan. She blogs at the notes which do not fit, has previously been a contributor at Manga Bookshelf, and has written guest posts for Hacking Chinese. She enjoys reading, travel, live theatre, learning languages, and gardening.
This entry was posted in Fortress, Gyeoggi, Hike, Joseon, Mostly Photos, World Heritage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hwaseong Fortress: the West Gate, and the Really Big North Gate

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