About 30 km (19 miles) south of Seoul is the city of Suwon. In the late 1700s one of the kings of the Joseon Dynasty moved his court from Seoul down to Suwon and the city almost became Korea’s permanent new capital but when that king died his successor moved the capital back to Seoul. In the 1900s the Japanese occupation of Korea and the Korean War damaged many of Suwon’s historic sites but a few notable ones either survived or were reconstructed afterwards and I visited the city to see a couple of them.
I started my sightseeing Paldalmun Gate, which used to be the great southern gate of Suwon’s city walls. Paldalmun was built in 1794 and like Sungnyemun Gate in Seoul it is today in the middle of a large traffic circle. The pagoda on top and the inner area of Paldalmun are closed to the public but you can cross the traffic circle and get up close with the gate.