Si Satchanalai Historical Park

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Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
National territory: ThailandThailand Thailand
Type: Culture
Criteria : i, iii
Reference No .: 574
UNESCO region : Asia and Pacific
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1991  (session 15)
Overview map of the historical park

The Si Satchanalai Historical Park ( Thai อุทยาน ประวัติศาสตร์ ศรีสัชนาลัย [ sǐ sàtt͡ɕʰáʔnaːlaj ]; English Si Satchanalai Historical Park ) is a historical park in the district ( Amphoe ) Si Satchanalai , Sukhothai Province , Thailand . It contains the ruins of the historic city of the same name, which was one of the most important cities in the Thai kingdom of Sukhothai , which existed from the 13th to 15th centuries .

The Si Satchanalai area was protected in 1961 and has undergone major restoration and restoration since 1976. In July 1988, the Si Satchanalai Historical Park was officially opened.

Since 12 December 1991, the Historical Park belongs together with the Historical Park Kamphaeng Phet and Sukhothai for World Heritage of UNESCO .

historical overview

Si Satchanalai was founded around 1250 as the second royal seat of the Crown Prince. And it was right here where a certain Li Tai wrote the first great work in Thai literature, the Traiphum Phra Ruang in 1340.

The city was laid out in a rectangular shape and in the 16th century was given a 5 m high wall with a moat in front of it to defend itself against the increasing Burmese attacks . The location of the city was favored by two hills dominating the area.

The first structures in this area date from the time when the (today's district) Chaliang was an outpost of the Khmer empire.

In the "Inscription I" ascribed to King Ram Kamhaeng (the stone stele that was discovered in 1833 by the later King Mongkut (Rama IV) in Sukhothai), the author almost incidentally provides two more facts in addition to the description of his empire which he apparently did not consider to be particularly important: In 1283 he “invented” the Thai script and in 1285 “he dug up the Phra That, the holy relics and displayed them for everyone to see. He adored her for a month and six days. Then he buried them again in the center of Si Satchanalai and built a chedi over them, which was ready after six years. He made a stone wall around it, which was completed in three years. ”The king has not described exactly where he excavated the Phra That, but it is widely believed that it was in the foundation of the main Khmer temple in Chaliang, a district of Si Satchanalai. This temple was built during the reign of Jayavarman VII (see Angkor ) , it was called Wat Phra Sri Rattana Maha That , whose name can also be shortened to Phra That .

Wat Chang Lom
step temple ( "surrounded by elephants" )

When Ram Khamhaeng had excavated the relics and paid homage to them for over a month, he took them to the center of Si Satchanalai about 3 km west, where he buried them again and built a chedi over them. There can be no doubt that it was Wat Chang Lom . The design of the chedi could have been made at a suggestion by the Patriarch of Nakhon Si Thammarat (southern Thailand), because in his city there is a similar chedi at Wat Phra Mahathat , which in turn was modeled on the Mahathupa in Anuradhapura ( Sri Lanka ).

The Khmer temple in Chaliang, deprived of its relics, was apparently rebuilt after 1292 with a structure similar to the Chang-Lom-Chedi. In the Ram Kamhaeng inscription, however, there are no statements about this. In the 15th century, when Sukhothai had become part of the Ayutthaya Empire, it was rebuilt again and received the typical Ayutthaya prang as it can be seen to this day.

The entire area of ​​the Maha That was enclosed with a wall more than two meters high, which consisted of huge monoliths made of laterite with a diameter of almost one meter. They were placed close together, on top of which there is a roof-like cap made of laterite. This Cyclopean structure is likely to refer to the “stone wall” that Ram Kamhaeng built around the Phra That.

During the Ayutthaya period , Si Satchanalai was renamed Sawankhalok . It became famous far beyond the borders of Thailand for its ceramic workshops, whose products ( Sawankhalok goods ) were exported to Indonesia , the Philippines , Borneo and Japan .

Finally, Si Satchanalai was conquered and destroyed by the army of the Burmese king in the 18th century . The residents were resettled in today's Sawankhalok (so the name of the settlement moved with it). The fields of ruins in the old Si Satchanalai have been restored since 1990, initially the city wall, the royal palace and Wat Chang Lom.


  • Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat ( the Temple of the Holy and Precious Relic ) - temple on the Maenam Yom River with a laterite wall from the time of King Ramkhamhaeng ( 13th century ).
  • Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo (literally temple with seven types of monuments ) - burial place of numerous members of the (vice) royal family from the Sukhothai period. It consists of 32 chedis of various sizes in different architectural styles. In some there are niches in which there are Buddha statues . Remains of stucco decorations can be seen on others.
  • Wat Chang Lom - Temple with a laterite - Chedi , started in 1286. The name of the temple is surrounded by elephants , because around the square base of his Chedi 39 standing elephants, not much of which can be seen today were located. Remarkably, the elephants stand in full size in front of the wall. Usually only the front half of the body is shown. The main sanctuary, a Sri Lankan style chedi, is surrounded by a thick wall of laterite stones. On the "first floor" there are 20 niches that were originally occupied by 1.4 m high Buddha statues. Some can still be seen today.
  • Thuriang kilns (for ceramics ). They are located about 5 km north of Mueang Kao , the ancient city of Si Satchanalai. About 200 kilns have been found in an area of ​​approximately 1.5 km². Based on the Chinese model, relatively coarse hard-fired ceramics have been produced here since the 13th century , and they are probably the oldest kilns in Thailand .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ AB Griswold: Towards A History Of Sukhothai Art ; Page 10
  2. ^ AB Griswold: Towards A History Of Sukhothai Art ; Page 11

Web links

Commons : Si Satchanalai Historical Park  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 17 ° 25 ′ 53.9 ″  N , 99 ° 47 ′ 10.6 ″  E