Daily Archives: January 5, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site #23: Hwaseong Fortress

Posted by on January 5, 2009

World Heritage Site #23: Hwaseong Fortress

World Heritage Site #23: Hwaseong Fortress

From the World Heritage inscription:

When the Choson emperor Chongjo moved his father’s tomb to Suwon at the end of the 18th century, he surrounded it with strong defensive works, laid out according to the precepts of an influential military architect of the period, who brought together the latest developments in the field from both East and West. The massive walls, extending for nearly 6 km, still survive; they are pierced by four gates and equipped with bastions, artillery towers and other features.

This photo will take some explanation…

Suwon is about an hour ride by commuter train from Seoul. When I arrived in Suwon I walked to the castle, getting lost on the way in the cold weather. When I got to the castle I just walked up the first stairs I found along the wall of the castle.

When I got to the top I saw a bunch of guys standing around in traditional dress. I figured that because it was an historical site, they must be doing some re-enactment for school kids or something.

When I get to the top of the hill, I find a ton of people, cameras, lights and big cranes. They were shooting a movie! Me, some dopy white guy with a camera, comes over the top of the hill where no one was stations, because they didn’t think anyone would be walking around the part of the grounds. Had I been there a minute or two sooner, I would have walked right into the middle of their shot.

I stuck around for about an hour watching everyone do their thing. I had never been on a movie set before, so I found that much more interesting than the historical relics around me. The director looked like a Korean hippie. I have photos of him and the lead actor, but I have no idea who they are.

Being the only white guy on the set, and having a camera, I was asked if I was from Hollywood. I said no, and was told I had to stop taking photos. I should have lied and just said I worked with Tom Cruise or Steven Spielberg or something.

To this day I have no idea what the name of the movie was. If anyone can help me figure it out, I’d love to track down the movie and watch it. The shooting of the movie took place in Early/mid December of 2007.