Namhansanseong Park and Fortress
Established as a national park in 1954, the fortress wall remaining at Namhansanseong (남한산성) that was beginning to crumble was repaired to the joy of many. Beautiful in any season, this park is a pleasant hilly destination for anyone that wants a not too difficult jaunt around an area with a lot of history. Originally built during the time of the three kingdoms, this area was a prime strategic location as it is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Fought over for thousands of years, the current wall that is surrounding the area was built during the Joseon dynasty between 1623 and 1626 during the reign of King Injo. At this time the Manchus were threatening the Ming Dynasty in China, and by 1636 the Manchus had made their way down to Korea. King Injo took refuge in this fortress along with 13,800 soldiers and 3,000 fighting monks that resided in the temples inside. The Manchus were unable to penetrate the fortress, however after a 45 day siege the king was forced to surrender due to the lack of food and supplies. After this the fortress went largely unused, except for some repair work done and the addition of some buildings during the reign of King Sukjong and King Yeongjo in 1686 and 1778 respectively.
Walking along the wall while listening to the sounds of gunshots coming from the nearby army practice range can make one feel as though the fortress is still providing refuge while the attackers try to scale the mountains. Getting there is not difficult and in the center of the fortress wall is a small town with restaurants and old buildings to walk through. There are bathrooms all over the mountain and admission is free making it a very hospitable destination. While many of the old temples were burnt down during the Japanese occupation there is still one old one and a few newer ones worth seeing as well as the fortresses four old gates. The wall is in great condition and the walk around the entire place while taking in the sights, I’m told, can take about four hours.
경기도 광주시 중부면 산성리
Sanseong-ri Joongbu-myeon Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
Subway: Get off at Sanseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 8), Exit No. 2. Take City Bus No. 9, and get off at Namhansanseong bus stop. (Travel Time : 20 Min., Interval of Buses: 20 Min.)
Bus: Take 13-2 bus at Dongseoul bus terminal Gangbeun station and transfer to 15-1 bus at the entrance of Namhansanseong, get off at the last stop