• Day32

    Namhansamseong Fortress

    September 28, 2019 in South Korea ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Another day, another fortress. Today's site was an "emergency palace", constructed during the 17th century. A fortress just outside of Seoul where the royal family and the government could retreat during times of war and unrest so that things could continue in safety.

    Much easier to access this time, as it was basically on the subway! 40 minutes on the subway to the edge of town, then a short 15 minute bus ride up into the hills nearby to the actual fortress. Quite busy today as it's a Saturday, and the area is super popular with the locals for hiking. Koreans really like hiking, as it turns out, even the old folks, and they all get super kitted out in their North Face and Kathmandu gear.

    This site doesn't have a great rep among our community as it's basically just a not-that-interesting fortress and isn't that old, so it doesn't have a lot going for it. We'd also seen ancient walls on the previous two day and weren't feeling super enthused. But we hopped off the bus in the tourist town and started wandering.

    The walls themselves run for about 12 kilometres and we picked the south gate to start with, figuring we'd walk a segment to the west gate, then head back to the centre. We essentially stuck to that plan and it was quite nice, though again the warm humid weather made the going tough.

    The wall was in great condition though as I mentioned it's not that old, and it's hard to know what sort of upkeep has been done to it. It was reasonably interesting, but certainly not a highlight I guess! The gates were cool though.

    Back to the centre of the fortress where we also had a look at the emergency palace. This was the centre of government when the king retreated here. Built in the 1660s, it was used within 10 years during a Japanese invasion (the Koreans lost). It suffered heavy damage in wars over the years and these days what you can see is mostly reconstructed from photos and archaeology. Not my favourite type of site!

    Took the bus down from the mountains to the city, grabbed a late lunch at Paris Baguette (again), then caught the subway back home. Stayed in for the rest of the day working on various things!
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    Trish Forrester

    It certainly looks to be in very good condition!