In this post, I describe my journey from Paldalmun (the South Gate) to the little spur on the southern side of Paldalsan, as shown in the map below.
After the southern floodgate, the wall disappears. This surprised me, since I had almost finished my circle of the wall, and assumed that it was continuous for the entire circle. Apparently, there are two small gaps in the wall on each side of Paldalmun (South Gate), probably to make way for vehicular traffic.
These gaps in the wall are almost certainly how I got into the center of the fortress without realizing I had entered the fortress.
When the wall restarts on the slopes of Paldalsan, the steps going up are quite steep. But I wanted to complete my circuit of the fotress, so I had to go up.
When I looked up at the ceiling of the secret gate, I saw the painting shown below.
And then … I ENTERED THE SECRET GATE!!! (like I had entered all of the other secret gates in the fortress)
I then went out to the pavilion at the edge of the spur.
It may not be as pretty as this pavilion, but it’s still nice. In fact, I rather like this spur – I like that it’s surrounded by trees for a change, so I can put the city of Suwon out of my mind for a moment and pretend I am in the Joseon era, or at least admire the masonry.
After I did a U-turn and returned to Paldalmun (South Gate), I went to a building which supposedly shows a short video about the fortress (why not) … but it turns out they weren’t showing it that day. But that brought me to the basement of the building, where I saw a gallery of ‘Humans of …’ photographs.
One of the series highlighted, of course, was Humans of Suwon. I remember seeing some of the photos on the ‘Humans of Suwon’ page in the gallery. They also displayed ‘Humans of’ a few other South Korean cities, as well as some ‘Humans of’ various other countries. I’m glad I found my way into the building so I could see that gallery exhibit.
So that is Hwaseong Fortress! I finished the circuit!