(cancelled) Visit SUWON - Country Palace and Fortress City Walls

Sunday, May 14, 2017 -
9:00am to 6:00pm
Suwon, Kyonggi Province
W40,000 for members and W48,000 for non-members
Tour Leader: 
Mr. Peter Bartholomew

The walled city of Suwŏn is the best constructed (late 1700’s), most original and well preserved example of monumental fortifications in Korea. The current city walls were built to protect the new royal country palace, the “Hwaseong (Hwasŏng) Haeng Gung,” which itself is an exquisite example of monumental Korean architecture, constructed on a more human and aesthetic style for its country setting and purpose.

This excursion to Suwon, its country palace and impressive walls, gates and fortifications, will be led by Mr. Peter Bartholomew, a 45 year resident in Korea who has made intensive study of the Joseon (Chosŏn) Dynasty from an architectural and historical perspective.

Mr. Bartholomew will explain the fascinating and intrigue-ridden history of this beautiful gem of Korean architecture, its links with the court in Seoul and the personal lives of royal family members, including the insane and often violent prince who was suffocated by his father, the King, in a rice chest and his wife, the gracious Lady Hong Hye Kyŏng whose ledgendary 60th birthday party was celebrated in the Suwon Hwaseong Haeng Kung. This fascinating and impressive collection of palace and stone architectural treasures will be brought alive to all who accompany us.

Each attendee will receive a 30-page hand-out with written explanations of the history and architectural attributes of this remarkable city, accompanied by photos and wood block prints of 18th Century paintings depicting the city, its palace with fortifications and the famous birthday party!

Today Suwon (meaning "water source") is the capital of Gyeonggi-do, but its history has been inextricably linked with nearby Seoul since the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392.

Some of the major sites to be visited are:

♦ Hwa Ryeong Jeon: Hwa Ryeong Jeon (Hwa Ryŏng Jŏn) is the ancestral memorial shrine constructed by King Sunjo in the first year of his reign (1800) for the Confuciian memorial ceremonies due his father, King Jeongjo (Chŏngjo). It still enshrines the portrait of King Jeongjo (Chŏngjo) and ceremonies are still held there annually by descendants of the Yi royal family. Hwaryeongjeon is one of the finest examples and best originally preserved of exquisite ancestral memorial shrine buildings.

♦ Hwa Seong (Hwa Sŏng) Haeng-gung: The Haeng-gung (country palace) was built at the orders of King Jeongjo (Chŏngjo) who reigned 1776-1800. King Jeongjo (Chŏngjo) was one of the most enlightened kings of the dynasty, presiding over Korea’s last major renaissance of art and culture (1700’s) of which Suwon’s architecture is extant evidence.

King Jeongjo (Chŏngjo) was the son of Crown Prince Sado, whose outrageous and violent behavior became such a scandal that in 1762 his father, King Yeongjo, had him enclosed in a rice chest, where he was left until he died. After becoming king in 1776, King Jeongjo did everything he could to express his respect for his father, moving his grave to a much more honourable site at Yungneung (Yungnŭng) near today's Suwon. In 1794, he began to build this new palace within magnificent and well crafted stone walls, ostensibly for use when he visited his father’s grave, and perhaps planning to move the capital away from the intrigues of Hanyang (Seoul).

In 1796 he celebrated his mother’s 60th birthday there. During the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) the palace was almost completely destroyed and what we see today is mainly a recent reconstruction with the exception of the main audience hall, Nak Nam Heon (Hŏn).

♦ Hwa Seong (Sŏng) City Wall Fortifications: UNESCO designated the extensive and impressive city walls a World Heritage site in 1997. Over 5 km long and averaging 9 meters high, this is Suwon's most impressive landmark, and was the last and most modern of Joseon (Chosŏn) fortifications, a stonework masterpiece of city-wall fortification construction.

The person in charge of the engineering and architecture for this huge project was none other than Dasan Jeong Yak-yong (1762-1836), the greatest scholar of the age. He drew on Chinese models as well as previous Korean ones and used machines to execute construction that were invented in Europe and described in books written in Chinese by the early Catholic missionaries to China. The walls, magnificent gates and gracious pleasure pavilions blending into these walls have been restored to their former splendor. We will visit some of the gates and will spend some time walking along the fortress walls.

NOTE: There will be a fair amount of walking and it is very important that you come in comfortable walking shoes.

Cost of the tour is W40,000 for members and W48,000 for non-members. We will leave from the Yongsan Post Office (just outside Exit 1 of Sinyongsan Station #429 on the Seoul Metro Line 4 or blue line) at 9:00 a.m., and return to Seoul is slated for 6:00 p.m. We will stop for a Korean lunch at a restaurant in Suwon. The lunch cost ranges from W 6,000-8,000, which cost is not included in the price of the excursion. You may also bring a packed lunch if you prefer.

Receive a confirmation for your registration on or before Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

Click here to register or sign-up by sending the information below to royalasiatickorea@gmail.com.

TO: R.A.S.

NAME_____________________________ MEMBER________ NONMEMBER_________
NAME_____________________________ MEMBER________ NON-MEMBER_________
PHONE NO. (MOBILE) ______________________ (OFFICE / HOME) _________________

Upon confirmation, please make a payment to the following account: Shinhan Bank Account #100-026-383501 (RAS-KB)

Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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