Historical Places BangkokBangkok Places of Historical Significance
(1) The Bangkok Fortifications
- The City of Bangkok emerged from the total destruction of Ayutthaya City by the Burmese invaders in 1767. A city of over 1 million people was totally destroyed and those of its inhabitants who did not escape were killed or made slaves and taken back to Burma (Myanmar). Accordingly war and invasion dominated the psyche of the Siamese people and all the new leaders were military men. Bangkok was chosen to be the new capital of Siam for strategic military reasons. The fortifications reflected more modern war fare and no longer were moats and narrow walls to stop elephants. The following remains of the fortifications made from 1768 are still there to be seen now.
Wang Derm Palace or Thon Buri Palace is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River adjacent to Wat Arun which is also another tourist location of importance. The site is important for historical as well as architectural reasons.
The word '' Wang '' means a fortress or fortified outpost such as we often see in Northern Thailand at Lampang and Sukhothai. This Palace was built by King Taksin The Great in 1768.
- Within this fortified complex was Wat Arun, Wat Molee Lokayaram and Fort Wichayen (later called Waichaiprasit Fort). The Thais refer to this place as '' Phra Racha Wang Derm '' meaning '' the original palace ''
- In 1522 the then King of Siam instigated the shortening of the River to the sea by cutting a canal heading directly South to avoid the meaning river. This canal was cut from where Thammasat University is today (north of the Grand Palace) to Wat Arun. The original meandering portion of the River then shrunk in size as the new canal expanded with the flow and volume of fast water to become the giant section it is today.
- The original section of the River is now called '' Bangkoknoi ''. Bangkoknoi has character and charm and is a gentle place where traditional Thai suburbs and markets developed and remain to this day.
(4) The Royal Elephant Museum
- The Royal Elephant National Museum was once an elephant stable for the Kings. For Kings the rare white Elephants were a symbol. But there is much more to be understood by visitors. Elephants were the war machines of the past. The Vietnamese destroyed the Mongol invaders with elephants, the Burmese at Pagan were slaughtered by the Mongols who then found ways to destroy the Burmese elephant armies, the Siamese Tai waged war with elephants in the wars with the Burmese and the Khmer Empires. It was not until the Portuguese sold canons to South East Asia did war fare change.
- The Grand Palace (including Wat Phrao Kaeo) is the major tourist attraction in Bangkok. This complex was created in 1782 and comprises the Royal residence, the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, its surrounding Galleries depicting the paintings of the scenes from the Ramakien (the Thai version of the Indian epic of the Ramayana), the Outer Court, the Inner Court and the Central Court.