Yongjusa Temple and Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

Yongjusa Temple was built by King Jeongjo to protect Hyeollyungwon, the tomb of his father, Crown Prince Sado.  This site was originally the location of Garyangsa Temple, which was constructed in AD854, the 16th year of King Munseong of the Silla Dynasty.  During the Joseon Dynasty, King Jeongjo moved the tomb of his father (posthumously designated King Jangjo), to this spot and built Yongjusa Temple here to pray for the repose of his father’s soul.  It is said that one night before the temple was completed, King Jeongjo dreamed of a dragon ascending to the sky holding a magic ball in its mouth.  He therefore named the temple “Yongjusa”, which in Korean means the temple of a dragon with a magic ball.

Hwaseong Fortress, Historic Site No. 3, was built in 1794-1796 during the reign of King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty.  Unlike other structures of the age which were constructed of stones, Suwon Castle was built of bricks and with the very first Korean crane.  Suwon Hwaseong Fortress was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 4, 1997.

I hadn’t planned to take any pictures of the Four Gods at the temple entrance,
as I’ve done so at several other temples, but I really liked the decoration on this one’s instrument!

We were there shortly after Buddha’s birthday (May 17th),
and the temple was still decorated with lanterns.

The traditional stone pagoda

These are “wish” lanterns; people buy them and write their wish on the tag below the lantern.

The lanterns are then hung up all around the grounds.

Here (if you look closely) you can see a monk conducting his prayers.

Outside the entrance to the Hwaseong Haenggung, a detached palace
inside the fortress grounds, was this Buddhist facility of some ilk.

King Jeongjo and his mother, Princess Hong of Hyegyeonggung, waiting for their
daily parade through the area around the palace.

A duiju, or rice chest.  King Yeongjo locked his son in one because the son was mentally ill
and not fit to be king.  Visitors are invited to get into the chest and experience it for themselves.

The pyeonjong, or instrument using bells

A portrait of King Jeongjo (note the royal mural behind him!)

The 600+ year-old Zelkova tree, which has protected Suwon since before the fortress was built.
Legend has it that wishes made to the tree will come true.

The royal parade returning to the palace

The main gate of the palace ...

... where the Jang Yong Yeong Guards Ceremony occurs.  The gate is officially opened ...

... and King Jeongjo and Princess Hong come out to meet their subjects.

They wave to the crown before ...

... riflemen and ...

... archers show off their skills.

Up on the fortress wall, our tour group poses on the Seonodae, the western crossbow platform.

The western turret (Seonchi)

The trolley, for those too lazy to walk up.  The front part the cab symbolizes
the driving power of King Jeongjo in the form of a dragon head.

I’d like to make a withdrawl, please!

The western cannon port (Seoporu)

Hwaseomun, one of the four main gates in the fortress

Suwon Banghwasuryujeong (right), which served as a watchtower,
command post, and pavilion.

These are some of the instructions at the traditional Korean archery range at the fortress.
I usually try not to pick on anyone else’s English--especially since it’s much better than
my Korean--but I have no idea what any of these mean (except for “a drinker cannot experience it”)!

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Last updated 21 July 2013