Hwaseong Haenggung Palace (화성행궁)

   A haenggung is a temporary palace where the king and royal family retreated to during a war. Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is the largest one of these, use by the Joseon kings since the time of King Jeongjo (r. 1776-1800).

   In addition to being used as a shelter during war, King Jeongjo also stayed here during trips to worship at his father's tomb. The palace was the location of a splendid feast held on the 60th birthday of his mother, Hyegyeonggung Hong, and many other events, including award certificates for successful candidates of special national exams. 

   If you read the other blog posts related to the Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon you will understand my excitement about visiting this site. In brief: 

   Hwaseong Fortress is an impressive structure from the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and the official fortress of Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do. The fortress, constructed from 1794 to 1796, was built as a display of King Jeongjo’s filial piety towards his father and to build a new pioneer city with its own economic power.

   I journeyed to the palace hoping to see the live performance advertised below:

    Jangyongyeong guard ceremony is held at the front gate every Sunday from April to October.

   Note that it is August but as I explained in another blog post, there would be no live performance on this day. Why? Because it was too hot! Click on this link and you will see what I missed. My advice? Do your research before venturing out in the hot and humid summer days!! 

   I was so disappointed that I was going to skip entering the palace too. However, I learned that one of my favorite Korean movies, King and the Clown, was filmed on this location. How could I skip visiting it? I was going to see this come hell or high water. The next time I watch the film  I will imagine myself in it! So with sweat dripping down my face and onto my chest I forged ahead. 

   It's probably more interesting to go with a tour guide but I didn't see one available at the time. So I explored the complex on my own with great enjoyment. The huge doors creak as you enter. Are they trying to tell us something? There are models displayed in different rooms - each room had a sign posted to explain about it. You are able to get a real sense of what life was like. There is also a wonderful display of musical instruments used at the time. One section houses the props used by the actors. 

   I'll simply post some of my photos so you can enjoy it too. 


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