world heritage

world heritage

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress....grand beauty that stood the test of time

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한국의 세계유산 - 수원 화성 Hwaseong Fortress in Korea is often praised for its extraordinary beauty despite having served as a place to defend the country in ancient time. Hwaseong Fortress... Korea's UNESCO World Heritage of the week... by Lee Unshin. It's a structure that connects the mountains to the flatland, a wall of stones that protects a village, a military stronghold that guarded a kingdom. This is Hwaseong Fortress. Located in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do province, in the central part of the country, the fortress was built more than 2-hundred years ago during the Joseon Dynasty by King Jeongjo in a show of respect for his late father. Straddling Mount Paldal , the circumference of the fortress is over 6 kilometers. These majestic walls lead to four uniquely designed gates -- Janganmun , Paldalmun , Changnyongmun and Hwaseomun -- that guard what was once a village inside. Beyond the gates, there are a number of facilities, including Hwaseong Haenggung palace, where the royal family took shelter during the war. "Hwaseong Haenggung palace is one of the most well known sites of the fortress. This is the very location where the globally popular Television series, 'Daejanggeum ,' or 'Jewel in the Palace' was filmed." Eager tourists gather at the palace's front gate, where the Jangyongyeong guard ceremony is held. The ceremony demonstrates 24 martial arts and is considered crucial heritage for its artistic and athletic features representing the traditional martial arts of the era. "Soldiers were stationed around Hwaseong Haenggung palace, practicing these moves to guard it during the Joseon Dynasty. Our performance showcases some of the ground martial arts among the 24 techniques, and my part involves dueling with real swords. The show is really popular with local and international tourists, especially during the weekend. With the overwhelming demand, we decided to make this a daily part of the program." Visitors can also try their hand at archery practice, further helping them understand the significance of this remarkable place. It's easy to get carried away by the recreational activities and the place's grand beauty, but like anything else that has stood the test of time, the fortress also reflects the scars of a bitter past. "Hwaseong Fortress has endured countless turbulences over the years. And it was most damaged during the Korean War. But the restoration initiative that started in the 1970s brought most of the fortress back to its former glory." The north watergate, or Buksumun, is one of the few original structures in the fortress, and still controls the flow of water from the Suwocheon River. The fortress is designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site... and is one of Korea's historical monuments. These are grand designations, and fitting for such a historical structure, but for area residents, this enchanted place means something even more. "I come here often, at least three times a week, and every time I do, I feel as if the fortress is telling me a long-lost tale. I walk around peacefully, I get to appreciate both nature and historical beauty of the site. To me, it's more than a cultural treasure, it's almost part of my life, and what keeps me grounded every day, you know?" Built to honor a beloved parent and defend the nation, and now treasured as a sanctuary, the captivating Hwaseong Fortress... is sure to be adored as one of Suwon's main attractions for years to come. Lee Un-shin, Arirang News, Suwon. Visit ‘Arirang News’ Official Pages Facebook(NEWS): http://www.facebook.com/newsarirang Homepage: http://www.arirang.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/arirangtv Twitter: http://twitter.com/arirangworld Instagram: http://instagram.com/arirangworld