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Night Opening of Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace

Writer신철희Date11/15/2019

Hwaseong Fortress is famous as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Night Opening of Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace


Hwaseong Fortress is famous as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the fortress is Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, which flaunts its beauty till late at night for a few months in a year. The palace, quiet and serene by day, presets a different atmosphere at night. The night opening is a seasonal event held from summer to fall, the best time for outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy wealth of programs and special performances with the beautifully lit palace in the background. The nighttime highlights range from perfect backdrops for Instagram-worthy photos to palace walks led by cultural tourism guides.


Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img
Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img

Hwaseong Fortress, a Popular Attraction Among Foreign Tourists

Hwaseong Fortress is undeniably the most accessible tourist attraction near Seoul. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Hwaseong Fortress was built over 2 years and 9 months by Jeongjo, the 22nd king of the Joseon Dynasty and the main character of the Korean drama Lee San, Wind of the Palace. The fortress was built to guard the tomb of his father Crown Prince Sado. Designed by eminent scholars Yu Hyeong-won and Jeong Yak-yong, Hwaseong Fortress was made from stones and bricks, and provided defense using arrows, spears, swords and cannons. It stretches for 5.7 kilometers and stands at 4–6 meters. Because it combined the advantages of fortress walls in Korea and abroad at that time, Hwaseong Fortress is widely recognized for its architectural qualities. The large fortress surrounds the city of Suwon, and its four gates and about 50 buildings of different designs blend together like an artistic masterpiece.

Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img
Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img

Travel Back in Time on a Guided Tour of Hwaseong Haenggung Palace

Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, located within the fortress, is said to be the largest and most beautiful among palaces in Korea. It served as an administrative office in ordinary times, and was also a temporary retreat for King Jeongjo. I had been to the Hwaseong Fortress, but this was my first time hearing about Hwaseong Haenggung Palace and its night opening.
The cultural tourism guides at Hwaseong Fortress and Hwaseong Haenggung Palace provide insights from historical, scientific and artistic perspectives. Luckily, I was in time for a guided nighttime tour of the palace. I learned that Jeongjo's filial piety came from losing his father to war at the young age of 11, and that he built the fortress not only to guard his father' s tomb, but also to improve the people's lives. While strolling through the palace, the guide explained the meanings behind the names of each building, and shared interesting stories that made the tour far more memorable. Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is famous as the filming of Dae Jang Geum, Lee San, Wind of the Palace, and The King and the Clown, but I remember it most from Love in the Moonlight when it was lit up at night. This is a scene that can only be witnessed during the night opening, and I was all the more grateful for the opportunity.

Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img

Capture Impressive Photos Amid Mystical Illuminations!

When you exit from Sinpungru, the main gate of Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, you will be greeted by a full moon twice the size of the average adult. This is the first photo zone. The moonlight goes well with the bright colors of the building, adding to the fantastic atmosphere. Everyone was busy snapping away. The illuminated photo zones include the path leading to Bongsudang Hall, the lantern in front of Naknamheon where banquets were held, and flower gardens near Mirohanjeong and stairs leading to the forest trail. All in all, the palace nightscape is truly a sight to behold.

Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img
Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img
Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung Palace img

Special Performances and Interactive Programs

Nighttime visitors to the palace can enjoy various performances and interactive programs. The puppet show on this day attracted many families with young children. Titled A Day in the Life of Mister Beard, the pleasant and enjoyable show offered a glimpse into everyday life in Korea. At the palace square, visitors had the opportunity to draw dancheong (traditional five-colored painting on wooden architecture), make candle holders in the shape of traditional grids, and attend sessions on traditional handicrafts. Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, which presents Korean culture through performances and interactive programs in addition to architecture, is not to be missed during the night opening period.


[General Information]

Transportation : Seoul Station on Line 1→Suwon Station on Line 1→15-minute taxi ride from Exit 9 (approx. 1 hour 20 minutes)
Address : 6-2, Namchang-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
Operating hours : Night opening period: July 2 (Tue)–September 28 (Sat), 2019
The night opening has been extended to October 26 (Sat) this year, and the palace will open until 22:00 every Fri–Sat during this period.
Performances and interactive programs are not available in October.
Every Tue–Thu 18:00–21:00 (last entry at 20:30)
Every Fri–Sat 18:00–22:00 (last entry at 21:30)
General opening period: Winter(09:00–18:00), summer (09:00–17:00)※ Last entry is 30 minutes before closing
Admission fee : Adult (KRW 1,500) / Youth (KRW 1,000) / Child (KRW 700)
Subsidiary facility : Hwaseong Fortress
Opening period : Open year-round; limited night opening
Group size : Families, groups, couples, individuals
Nearby attractions : Hwaseong Fortress, Chicken Street, Sundae Town