The 55th Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival begins next month, giving Korean history lovers a chance to nose around an ancient fortress, and experience what festivities in the Joseon dynasty were like.

The event takes place in the UNSECO World Heritge site of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, which was constructed by King Jeongjo between 1794 and 1796. King Jeongjo was the 22nd king of the Joseon dynasty. and he built the fortress to house the tomb of his father, Crown Prince Sadoseja. The fortess was also part of his political strategy to eradicate faction struggles at the time, and establish royal politics. He wanted to use the fortress as a kind of national defense to the south of the country.

The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is a pyeongsanseong, a flat and mountainous fortress, which is unique to Korea. During the Japanese Occupation Era (1910-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), parts of the fortress were destroyed or lost, but they were repaired and recovered during the late 1970s. The fortress walls of Suwon Hwaseong today remain intact almost as the original form as it was constructed 200 years ago.

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Every year, the fortress hosts this festival to remember the days of the Joseon dynasty and its founder. The performances and activities this year include the King Jeongjo Tomb Parade Reenactment, a reenactment of the 60th birthday banquet held for Crown Princess Hong, and the Suwon Lantern of Love Festival.

The festival will be held from Friday October 5th to Sunday October 7th. Suwon is located in Gyeonggi province, around 90 minutes from Incheon International Airport by bus. Check the official website for more information.

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