A Sensory Delight and a great tourist destination in Suwon
Farmers markets and traditional markets are great places to learn a lot about a country and a culture, so wherever we travel we try to find the local market. We wander around marveling at all the new and different produce, sometimes stopping to taste, sometimes buying, depending on the place.
I spent a couple of wonderful hours wandering around this market with Geonghe, Chang’s wife, as they live in Suwon and she knows it well.
The neighborhood around the Paldalmun Gate (south gate of Hwaseong Fortress) is the main business district of Suwon. Here, more than 300 stores and stalls are joined to make a huge public market place. It’s roughly in two sections divided by an open market street. Each section is a covered market with a maze of alleys, and stalls clustered together that tend to sell the same items. One side is devoted to clothes, accessories, shoes, traditional Korean clothes (like hanboks), linens, kitchen ware etc; the other to fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, fish, side dishes, spices, traditional Asian medicinal goods, and so on. Upstairs are more small shops, a coffee shop, exhibition spaces etc.
The market first opened in 1917 and ever since then the vendors have tried to preserve the traditional atmosphere and physical surroundings. Since it opened, this market has specialized in the traditional, such as garments and medicine, which I’m told are highly praised by customers for their outstanding quality.
The market has a lively vibe, which I found very exciting, as apparently do some 20,000 visitors to the market every day. An on-going maintenance project to keep the originality of the market began in 2002.
This is a small pictorial essay. We didn’t actually buy anything, but I “ooh-ed and aah-ed” all along the way, and we did have a coffee upstairs.