Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall – place to visit in Seoul

Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall – place to visit in Seoul

The wall, which follows the ridges of Baegak (Bugaksan), Naksan (Naktasan), Namsan (Mongmyeoksan) and Inwangsan, the four main mountains surrounding the center of Seoul, has been constantly managed since its initial construction in 1396. The wall measures between 5 and 8m high and is 18.6km long, and it bears witness to the role played by a city wall in the life of a capital city, still sustained in modern day Seoul.

Hanyangdoseong has four main gates and four auxiliary gates. The main gates are Heunginjimun, Donuimun, Sungnyemun and Sukjeongmun, while the auxiliary gates are Hyehwamun, Souimun, Gwanghuimun and Changuimun. In addition, the five-arch watergate and two-arch watergate to the south of Heunginjimun were built to transport water from Cheonggyecheon Stream to outside the wall.

Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall – place to visit in Seoul

Hiking Along The Seoul City Wall

The wall, which follows the ridges of Baegak (Bugaksan), Naksan (Naktasan), Namsan (Mongmyeoksan) and Inwangsan, the four main mountains surrounding the center of Seoul, has been constantly managed since its initial construction in 1396. The wall measures between 5 and 8m high and are 18.6km long and it bears witness to the role played by a city wall in the life of a capital city, still sustained in modern day Seoul.

Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall – place to visit in Seoul

Baegak Mounatain Trail
<Baegangmaru Summit and its vicinity, Seoul; Scenic Site No. 67>

• Trail : Changuimun Gate ~ Hyehwamun Gate
• Distance : 4.7km
• Duration : about 3 hours

The Baegak Trail runs from Changuimun to Hyehwamun, and crosses Baegak (Bugaksan, 342m), which was the main mountain of Seoul four inner mountains in old Seoul according to geomantic theory and the highest one among them. After a unit of North Korean Special Forces infiltrated Seoul in 1968, public access to this area was limited for about forty years. It was finally reopened to the public in 2007.

• Opening hours : Closed every Monday. If a national holiday falls on a Monday, it will be closed on Tuesday.
Summer (Mar. ~ Oct.) 09:00~16:00, Winter (Nov. ~ Feb.) 10:00~15:00
• Notice : Visitors must carry accepted form of identification (e.g. passport of Alien Registration Card issued from Republic of Korea).

Naksan Mounatain Trail

• Section : Hyehwamun Gate ~ Heunginjimun Gate
• Distance : 2.1km
• Duration : about 1 hour

This hiking trail runs from Hyehwamun to Heunginjimun, passing via Naksan (124m), the lowest mountain of Seoul’s four inner mountains. Naksan is also known as Naktasan (“Camel Mountain”) or Tarak, due to its resemblance to a camel’s humps. This course is relatively easy due to its gentle slope. Alert visitors will notice the different shapes of the stones depending on the time of construction of the wall, as they walk along the path behind the Catholic Univ. of Korea.

• Opening hours : 24 hours
• Notice : Visitors are recommended to be silent for the residents of Bukjeong Village.

Heunginjimun Gate Trail

• Section : Heunginjimun Gate ~ Jangchung Gymnasium
• Distance :1.8km
• Duration : about 1 hour

Discovering Traces of Hanyangdoseong: Heunginjimun Gate Section

The wall section under review here starts at Heunginjimun , passes Gwanghuimun Gate and extends as far as Jangchung Gymnasium. The stretch of wall around Heunginjimun is on the lowest ground of the entire wall. Thus, Ogansumun and Igansumun water gates (The water gates consisted of five arched and two arched gates) were built here to drain water from the city into the streams outside the wall.

Recommended Korea Tour Packages

See Also:   Heavy snowfall hits Seoul for the first time in this Winter

Various military-related facilities were clustered here, too, including Hadogam (Sub Office of Hullyeondogam), Yeomchocheong (Dedartment of Gun Powder), Hullyeonwon (Military Training Ground). During the Daehan Empire, the streetcar line was built through here, followed by new streets and Gyeongseong Stadium in the Japanese colonial period. Then after liberation, the streets were widened and new homes were built in the area as well. All this construction activity caused most of the main wall structure to be removed during the past century, but now Igansumun watergate is being rebuilt on its original site, and the foundation remnants of Hadogam have been moved inside Dongdaemun History & Culture Park for public display. People who wish to visit this part of Hanyangdoseong may also stop in Dongdaemun Design Plaza or go shopping in the nearby Dongdaemun Market, Pyeonghwa Market and Bangsan Market.

• Notice : The path to Jangchung Gymnasium via Gwanghuimun Gate passes through a residential area, so please show consideration for the local residents.

Namsan(Mongmyeoksan) Mountain Trail

• Section : Jangchung Gymnasium ~ Baekbeom Square
• Distance : 4.2km
• Duration :about 3 hours

This walking trail runs from the backstreets of Janchung Gymnasium to Namsan Park. In the early Joseon, a national shrine and beacon platform were built near and at the top of Namsan (Mongmyeoksan, 270m). As Namsan was the center of the administrative district in Seoul, there is a stone marker inscribed with “the Central Point of Seoul” on the summit. In the 1920’s, most the wall in the area was demolished to build the Joseon Shinto Shrine by the Japanese; but due to the preservation and restoration projects conducted since the 1970s and the Namsan recovering project carried out in the mid-1990s, most of the wall sections around Namsan have been restored to their original appearance.

• Opening hours : Namsan – 24 hours
• Tip: Visitors are advised to check the event schedule of Namsangol Hanok Village, many interesting events are held there.

Sungnyemun Gate Trail

• Section : Baekbeom Square ~ Site of Donuimun Gate
• Distance : 1.8km
• Duration : About 1 hour

Wall Destruction with Modernization: Sungnyemun Gate Section

Sungnyemun Section starts at Baekbeom Square, passes Sungnyemun and continues as far as the Site of Donuimun. Sungnyemun was the main entrance into the capital and, being in the south wall, was the closest to the Hangang River, and thus most of the people and goods going to the capital passed through this gate. Commercial activities flourished in late Joseon, and Chilpae Market was established just outside this gate, while just inside the gate the Morning Market was established in front of the Tribute Bureau warehouse. Chilpae Market became one of the three major markets in the capital, along with those at Jongnu and Ihyeon. The Morning Market evolved into today’s Namdaemun Market. A commercial treaty was concluded with Japan in 1876, followed by similar treaties with various Western powers, and Seoul became open to outsiders. The legations and housing for diplomatic officials of Western countries were concentrated in Jeong-dong area, near the South Gate, as were the churches and schools established by Western missionaries.

See Also:   Black Pink's 'As If It's Your Last' music video hits 300 million Youtube views

The first streetcar lines went into service in the capital in 1899, rendering the original function of Sungnyemun obsolete, and the wall sections on each side of Sungnyemun were removed in 1907 to improve the traffic flow. Thereafter, more of the wall was demolished when new buildings were constructed in the area the gate, making it difficult to find any traces of the old wall. Only two sites remain in this section were such remnants can be recovered. The lower part of the original wall remains along the alley that runs from the Korea Chamber Of Commerce & Industry to the Olive Tower, and the base of a fifty-meter wall section at Changdeok Girls’ Middle School comes from the old wall as well.

• Remember: Excursions along Sungnyemun section require some information in advance, given the difficulty in following the course of original Hanyangdoseong.

Inwangsan Mountain Trail

• Section : Site of Donuimun Gate ~ Changuimun Gate
• Distance : 4km
• Duration : about 2 hours 30 minutes

This walking course runs from Site of Donuimun to the Yun Dong-ju Hill, via Inwangsan (339m), which is situated to the right of Seoul’s four inner mountains. Inwangsan is also known as a rocky mountain characterized by unusual rock formations including Chimabawi (Rock of women’s skirt), Seonbawi (Rock of meditating monk), and Gichabawi (Rock of train). The name “Inwang” is a Buddhist term, and it is said that a Korean Buddhist monk named Muhak (1327~1405) once declared that if Inwangsan ever became one of the country’s principal mountains, Buddhism would flourish here. Access to the mountain was prohibited after a unit of the North Korean Special Forces infiltrated Seoul on 21 January 1968, and it was not reopened to the public until 1993.

• Opening Hours : 24 hours (Closed every Monday; and on Tuesdays when a national holiday falls on the preceding Monday.)
• Yun Dong-ju Literary Museum – Summer (March ~ Oct.) 10:00~18:00 / Winter (Nov. ~ Feb.) 10:00~17:00
(Closed every Monday, and during the Chuseok (Harvest Moon) and Seollal (Lunar New Year) holidays
• Notice: As Inwangsan has many rocky sections, visitors take extra care, especially in winter.
• Guide Tip: The Sajik Daeje (National Rite to Gods of the Earth and Grains; Important Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 111)
is held at Sajikdan Altar by the Corporate Mutual Association of the Jeonju Lee Clan on the third Sunday of every September.

Source: Seoul Metropolitan Government

Request your Korea Private Tour

About the author

HaB Korea 해브코리아 We are tourism people, we are going to make you happy in Korea! It's your trip, HaB it your way.
Subscribe to Magazine HaB Korea via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our online Magazine HaB Korea and receive updates on the latest articles, events and special offers!

Thank you for subscribing. Please check your email and confirm your subscription.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend