This UNESCO World Heritage site was built between 1794 and 1796 as an homage to the remains of Prince Sado, who was murdered by his father after failing to carrying out his own suicide. Its unique architecture incorporates elements from China and Korea and took more than 700,000 man-hours to build.
Today, travelers can explore the impressive grounds that lie beyond a 3.5-mile wall originally erected to protect the fortress. Four main gates—Janganmun to the north, Hwaseomun to the west, Paldalmun to the south and Changnyongmun to the east once served as an entry into the fortress, but today modern roads and sturdy bridges provide the main means of connecting travelers from the outside world to the inner workings of Hwaseong. Visitors should check out some of the 48 structures dotting the wall, including several old-world watchtowers with three-story wooden pavilions that were once used as enemy lookouts.
The fortress is located 30 kilometers south of Seoul and is open in the summer season from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily and during the winter from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is 1,000 won for adults, 700 won for youth and 500 won for children. Group rates are available at a discounted fee.