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Title: Suwon  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: 2011 Suwon Samsung Bluewings season, Handball at the 1986 Asian Games, 2008 in South Korean football, 2002 FIFA World Cup, Jangan-gu
Collection: Cities in Gyeonggi Province, Suwon
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Suwon (Hangul: 수원, Hanja: 水原, Korean pronunciation: ) is the capital and largest metropolis of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea's most populous province which surrounds Seoul, the national capital. Suwon lies about 30 km (19 mi) south of Seoul. It is traditionally known as "The City of Filial Piety". With a population close to 1.2 million, it is larger than Ulsan, although it is not governed as a metropolitan city.

Suwon has existed in various forms throughout Korea's history, growing from a small settlement to become a major industrial and cultural center. It is the only remaining completely walled city in South Korea. The city walls are one of the more popular tourist destinations in Gyeonggi Province. Samsung Electronics R&D center and headquarters are based in Suwon. The city is served by two motorways, the national railway network, and the Seoul Metropolitan Subway. Suwon is a major educational center, home to 11 universities.[2]

Suwon is home to Korean Baseball Organization also call Suwon home.


  • History 1
    • Construction of Hwaseong 1.1
    • Korean War 1.2
    • Recent history 1.3
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Administrative divisions 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Education 5
  • Industry 6
  • Culture 7
    • Recreation 7.1
    • Travel and tourism 7.2
    • Sport 7.3
  • History 8
  • Rail and road access 9
  • Notable places 10
    • Notable residences 10.1
    • Cuban proximity 10.2
    • Naval Air Station Key West 10.3
    • Port of Key West 10.4
  • Geography and climate 11
    • Geography 11.1
    • Entertainment 11.2
      • Old Town/New Town 11.2.1
        • Old Town
        • New Town
        • Gulf of Mexico/Atlantic
        • Southernmost City
    • Climate 11.3
      • Wet and dry seasons 11.3.1
      • Hurricanes 11.3.2
  • Attractions, events, recreation, and culture 12
    • Popular annual events 12.1
  • Media 13
  • Education 14
  • Notable people 15
    • Residents 15.1
    • Visitors 15.2
  • References 16
  • Further reading 17
  • External links 18


In ancient tribal times, Suwon was known as Mosu-guk (Hangeul: 모수국). During the Three Kingdoms era, however, the area comprising modern Suwon and Hwaseong City was called Maehol-gun (매홀군).

In 757, under King Gyeongdeok of the Unified Silla, the name was changed to Suseong-gun (수성군). In 940 during the Goryeo Dynasty, the name was changed again in to Suju (수주). King Taejong of the Joseon Dynasty renamed the city to Suwon in 1413.[4]

In 1592, during the Imjin wars, Commander Yi Kwang attempted to launch his army toward the capital city, Seoul (at the time called Hanseong).[5] The army was withdrawn, however, after news that the city had already been sacked reached the commander.[5] As the army grew in size to 50,000 men with the accumulation of several volunteer forces, Yi Kwang and the irregular commanders reconsidered their aim to reclaim the capital, and led the combined forces north to Suwon.[5][6]

Construction of Hwaseong

Later, during the Joseon Dynasty, King Jeongjo made an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make Suwon the nation's capital in 1796. Part of this project was the construction of Hwaseong Fortress, a fortified wall running around the entire city partially intended to guard the tomb of his father, Prince Sado, which he had located there.[7]

The walls were one of Korea's first examples of paid labour, (corvée labour being common previously). The walls still exist today, though they (together with the fortress) were damaged severely during the Korean War.

Hwaseong originally was constructed under the guidance of philosopher Jeong Yag-yong. Shortly after the death of King Jeongjo (1800), a white paper detailing the construction of the fortress was published. This proved invaluable during its reconstruction in the 1970s.

The fortress walls once encircled the entire city, but modern urban growth has seen the city spread out far beyond the fortress. The walls are now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site,[7] and often are used in materials promoting the city.

Korean War

North Korean T-34-85 caught on a bridge south of Suwon by US attack aircraft in the Korean War

The Korean War greatly affected Suwon, as the city changed hands four times. Very shortly after the outbreak of war, the 49th Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force was dispatched to Korea from Japan. Its first task was to evacuate civilians from Suwon and Gimpo, but Suwon soon fell to the advancing North Koreans. Shortly before the Battle of Osan, the first conflict between United States and North Korean forces, on July 4, 1950, defenses were erected on the road between Suwon and nearby Osan (then still under Southern command). The next day, Northern troops advanced south. In the 3½-hour battle which followed, 150 American and 42 North Korean soldiers were killed and the United States troops were forced to retreat. The North Korean advance southwards to take Osan was delayed by an estimated seven hours.[8][9]

On December 16, 1950, the Greek Expeditionary Force relocated to Suwon, attached to the US 1st Cavalry Division. From November 6, 1951, the United States Air Force's top fighter pilot Gabby Gabreski was in charge of K-13 Air Base in Suwon. By the end of the war, Suwon was in South Korea. A memorial to the French military stands in Jangan-gu, near the Yeongdong Expressway's North Suwon exit.

Recent history


Flags on Hwaseong.

Suwon lies in the north of the Gyeonggi plain, just south of South Korea's capital, Seoul. It is bordered by Uiwang to the north-west, Yongin to the east, the city of Hwaseong to the south-west, and also shares a short border with Ansan to the west.

There are a few hills around Suwon. The highest of these is Gwanggyosan to the north, on the border with Yongin, though those to the east are more numerous. Gwanggyosan is 582 metres (1,909 ft) above sea level.[10]

Most of the streams passing through Suwon originate on Gwanggyosan or other nearby peaks. Since Suwon is bounded to the east by other hills, the streams, chiefly the Suwoncheon (and one notable tributary being the Jungbocheon), flow southwards through the city, eventually emptying into the Yellow Sea at Asan Bay. The entirety of Suwon is drained in this manner.

As is true of all the South Korean mainland, there are no natural lakes in Suwon. There are, however, many small reservoirs, namely Seoho (서호) near Hwaseo Station, Ilwon Reservoir (일원 저수지) near Sungkyunkwan University, Bambat Reservoir (밤밭 저수지) near Sungkyunkwan University Station, Ilwang Reservoir (일왕 저수지) in Manseok Park, Pajang Reservoir (파장 저수지) near the North Suwon exit of the Yeongdong Expressway, Gwanggyo Reservoir (광교 저수지) at the foot of Gwanggyosan, Woncheon and Sindae Reservoirs (원천 저수지 & 신대 저수지) near Ajou University 아주대학교, Geumgok Reservoir (금곡 저수지), a small reservoir at the foot of Chilbosan, and the larger Wangsong Reservoir (왕송 저수지), located mainly in the city of Uiwang, but its dam located in Suwon.

At the closest point, being the Chilbosan ridge (239m)[11] to the west on the border with Ansan, Suwon lies 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the Yellow Sea coast.


Climate data for Suwon (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2.1
Daily mean ° (°F) −2.9
Average low °C (°) −7.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 22.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 7.3 6.2 7.6 7.8 8.7 9.4 15.4 14.1 8.7 6.2 8.7 8.1 108.2
Average relative humidity (%) 65.1 64.3 64.2 62.5 67.6 72.3 80.1 78.3 74.5 71.0 68.6 66.4 69.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 166.0 171.6 198.0 215.2 221.3 188.3 136.7 166.0 182.0 200.2 158.0 159.7 2,162.8
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration[12]

Administrative divisions

Districts of Suwon

The city is divided into 4 gu (districts):[2]

Romanization Hangul Hanja Pop. (2015)[13] Area (m2)
1. Gwonseon-gu 권선구 344,414 47,355,349.2
2. Jangan-gu 장안구 300,007 33,119,867.5
3. Paldal-gu 팔달구 201,142 13,077,959.4
4. Yeongtong-gu 영통구 332,899 27,500,143.7
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