The city of Suwon, located just south of Seoul, was once a provincial government seat during the Joseon Dynasty. Since King Jeongjo commissioned the construction of Hwaseong Fortress 200 years ago, Suwon has remained a centre of transportation and culture. Cultural assets such as Hwaseong, the UNESCO-designated wall surrounding the city coexist with ten modern parks to achieve harmony between past and present.

At the centre of Hwaseong stands the largest haenggung (a king’s temporary residence) in the country. Tourists can view the entire walled complex through a 30-minute ride on the Hwaseong Train, modelled after the King’s palanquin, or try their hand at traditional Gukgung Archery. The fortress city is known for its galbi, or Korean marinated beef ribs grilled over charcoal. The galbi at Suwon even gets a special name, wanggalbi, for its considerable size.

For a more modern experience look no further than Na Hyeseok Street, named after the famous artist and writer, and explore its various cultural exhibitions and vibrant nightlife. Or join the 1.2m Suwon residents relaxing at ten official parks interspersed throughout the city. There is also Park Jisung Street, named in honour of the famous footballer born in the city, and the Suwon World Cup Stadium, which houses a museum dedicated to the former Korea Republic talisman.

Football Suwon has successfully hosted matches for three official FIFA tournaments: the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, and the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. In 2007, the Korea Republic U-17 national team played its first two home games at the Suwon Sports Complex, but unfortunately fell to consecutive losses and failed to qualify for the round of 16.

The regional football clubs include Suwon Samsung Bluewings, a member of the K-League since 1996, and Suwon FC, who made their top flight debut in 2016. The clash between these two teams on 14 May ths year represented the very first regional derby in the history of Korean professional football. The home team Suwon Bluewings would emerge victorious with a score of 2-1 thanks to a late goal from Yeom Kihun.

In 2008, Suwon set up its first professional women’s football club. The Black Roses joined the WK-League as its sixth team and claimed the title as early as 2010. After winning a series of trophies from major tournaments, the club has established itself as a powerhouse of Korean women’s football.