South Korea: Hwaseong Fortress

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Hwaseong Fortress

Hwaseong Fortress is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is located in Suwon. It was built in the late 1700’s as a show of economic development in the region.

If you are into architecture or medieval war, this place will get your imagination going. It is easily accessible by bus from Seoul. When I visited, the tourist office was closed and the place was deserted. Without a map I wondered for hours along the wall of the fortress and still did not circle it fully.

At Hwaseong Fortress, you will learn more about Korean history, rack in some exercise and learn about court cuisine and politics. Did you know that the Emperor’s most senior concubines were also his food testers?

Try to find the big brown clay pots you see in various locations in South Korea that are used for fermentation of foods like Kimchi. And if you visit during dry season, watch as rows after rows of red peppers are dried on the street. They are used heavily in South Korean dishes.

Local Interaction

If you are lucky you may also catch a Korean video being made! Soap operas are big here. Or you might be interviewed by local college students and end up on South Korean YouTube . I am not sure where my video ended up, but I did get interviewed about my trip to Korea.

Being approached by locals, for pictures or questions, happens quite frequently throughout Asia actually. Specially if you look Caucasian. Because I am half-Asian, I was able to blend in a little better and escape such requests most of the time.

I am not sure why this happens, maybe it’s the fascination with lighter skin, hair and eye color. Or maybe Asians just figured out a way to get retribution on all the Western tourists that ask them for a picture. This trend may go away once there are more Western tourists visiting these areas. As with everything, exposure seems to decrease interest.

For more information on Hwaseong Fortress click here.

Have you visited Hwaseong fortress? How was it like?

 

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