Sukhothai Historical Park

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

Wat Phra Phai Luang.jpg
Wat Si Sawai
National territory: ThailandThailand Thailand
Type: Culture
Criteria : i, iii
Reference No .: 574
UNESCO region : Asia and Pacific
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1991  (session 15)
Sukhothai Historical Park

The Sukhothai Historical Park ( Thai : อุทยาน ประวัติศาสตร์ สุโขทัย , IPA: [ ʔùttʰáʔjaːn pràʔwàttìʔsàːt sùʔkʰǒːtʰaj ]) includes the ruins of Sukhothai, the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries, the first large-scale kingdom of the Thai .

The park is located on Thailand Route 12 about 13 kilometers west of the center of the modern city of Sukhothai , which is also the capital of the province of the same name .


The old city, also called Mueang Kao (Thai เมือง เก่า 'Old City') by the locals , was surrounded by earth walls and moats about 2 km × 1.6 km in size. A total of four entrance gates led through the fortifications into the city. Within these walls are the remains of the royal palace and more than 20 temples, the largest of which is Wat Mahathat. The historical park also includes areas to the north, east, south and west outside the walls, in which there are further ruin temples.

As early as 1942 there were plans to restore it as a historical park. The first work on the inventory did not begin until the early 1950s. On August 2, 1961, it was announced in the Royal Gazette (Volume 92, Part 112) that the area had been placed under the protection of the Fine Arts Department (about: Ministry of Culture ). On January 25, 1964, the Ramkhamhaeng Museum was opened by King Bhumibol Adulyadej . Important finds could be exhibited here. In 1976 the Thai government stipulated that the ruins should be developed into a "Historical Park". The final restoration was completed in 1988 and the Sukhothai Historical Park was inaugurated by the king. On December 12, 1991, the historical park was declared a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with neighboring parks in Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, which belong to the same cultural context .

Today almost 200 temple ruins can be seen inside and outside the old city walls, the oldest dating from the 13th century. In the restored Wat Mahathat, a spectacular Loi Krathong celebration is celebrated every year on the full moon in November .

Overview map of the historical park


Monument to King Ramkhamhaeng

Inside the walls

  • Monument to King Ramkhamhaeng - right in the center of the park, north of the palace
  • The royal palace and Wat Mahāthāt ("Temple of the Great Relic"), the real center of the complex
  • King Ramkhamhaeng is said to have held court on the Noen Prasat (Palace Hill) , a large terrace east of Wat Mahāthāt.
  • The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum is just east of the palace ruins. It shows numerous works of art that have been donated by Sukhothai citizens or secured here by the Fine Arts Department. Allegedly more than 2000 finds are to be exhibited here, u. a. the bell at the palace of King Ramkhamhaeng, which anyone was allowed to ring to present the king's problems.
  • Wat Traphang Ngoen ( Monastery in the Silver Lake ) - small temple on the island in an artificial lake west of Wat Mahāthāt
  • Wat Si Sawai (also "Wat Sri Svāya") - probably founded by the Khmer as Shiva temple as early as the 12th century . Today there are the remains of a Wihan in front of the three prominent Prang , a wall encloses the entire complex. A well-preserved lintel showing a sleeping Vishnu is now in the museum.
  • Wat Traphang Thong ( Monastery in the Gold Lake ) - in a large lake there is an old Wihan and a Mondop with a Buddha's footprint from the Sukhothai period
  • Wat Sa Si (also "Wat Sra Sri"), Wat Chana Songkhram and Wat Tra Kuan are close to each other north of Wat Mahāthāt. They were probably all founded at the same time and today show restored Sinhala chedis and ruins of bots in the middle of small ponds. Numerous foundations of smaller chedis are scattered across the temple grounds.
  • San Ta Pha Daeng - Hindu shrine ( Prang ) north of Wat Mahāthāt.
  • To the northeast of San Ta Pha Daeng is Wat Sorasak , with a restored chedi "surrounded by elephants".
Jataka engraving on shale lime, Wat Si Chum (detail of a replica in Mueang Boran )

Outside the walls: north

  • Wat Phra Phai Luang - about 1 km north of the city walls, this temple is surrounded by a square moat. It was probably founded in the 12th century when Sukhothai was still part of the Angkor Empire . Of the original three prangs standing side by side, only one remains today. It is complex with stucco - relief decorated. Since many Buddha statues were stolen here in the 1950s, the remaining pieces, some of which were badly damaged, are now housed in the Ramkhamhaeng Museum.
  • Turiang Kilns ("Turiang Kilns") - north of the moat are some historical kilns
  • Wat Sangkhawat (also "Wat Sanghāvāsa") - small temple with Wihan and Bot remains, which are also surrounded by a small moat.
  • Wat Si Chum is the main monument northwest of the city. The great Mondop is said to have been built by King Maha Thammararaja II at the end of the 14th century. The square building has a side length of 32 meters. In the thick walls there is a narrow corridor with a staircase to the roof. More than 50 engraved plates depicting scenes from the Jataka were found on the walls of the corridor . They are the oldest surviving examples of Thai drawing. In the Mondop is the massive statue of Phra Achana, which is already mentioned in the inscriptions of King Ramkhamhaeng.

Outside the walls: east

  • Wat Chang Lom - similar to a temple of the same name in the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, the large chedi is supported by 36 elephants
  • Wat Thraphang Thong Lang ( Monastery in Coral Tree Lake ) - ruins of a large brick mondop and several small chedi
  • Wat Chedi Sung ( monastery with high chedi ) - with a uniquely designed chedi
Wat Chetuphon

Outside the walls: south

  • Wat Kon Laeng - now mainly an approximately 8 meters high stepped pyramid of large laterite -Blöcken that had the same function to the city's founding well as now, Lak Mueang ( "City column"), namely the guardian spirit of the city, the Phi Mueang to to sacrifice.
  • Wat Ton Chan ( monastery on the sandalwood tree ) - partially collapsed Sinhala chedi. Numerous very popular amulets made of terracotta were found here.
  • Wat Chetuphon - surrounded by a brick wall, a mondop with stucco figures of the Buddha in various positions on the four side walls stands in the middle. Remains of a moat can be made out.
  • Wat Chedi Si Hong ( Chedi Monastery with 4 rooms ) - Remains of remarkable stucco decorations in the Wihan
  • Wat Si Phichit Kirati Kanlayaram (also "Sri Bicitrakirtikanlyārāma") - Chedi in Sinhala style with a stucco-decorated foundation
  • Wat Wihan Thong, Wat Asokaram and Wat Mum Langka are three smaller temples, each consisting of a Chedi and a Wihan.
Phra Attharot, Wat Saphan Hin

Outside the walls: west

  • Wat Pa Mamuang ( Monastery of the Mango Grove ) - this important temple, surrounded by a narrow moat, is only a few hundred meters west of the city wall. He was mentioned among other things in the inscription VII of King Lü Thai. The king had the temple renovated and enlarged for the famous monk Mahāsāmī Sangharāja, who had acquired his deep knowledge of the Tipitaka during long studies in Ceylon .
  • Wat Aranyik (also "Wat Araññika") - not far from Wat Saphan Hin is this forest temple, in which the foundations of numerous kuti are scattered in the forest. Foundations of a small Wihan can be seen here.
  • Wat Saphan Hin - in the wooded hills west of the city is the "Stone Bridge Monastery". A large Buddha statue of a "Phra Attharot" ( Attharasa : Pali for eighteen; the statue is eighteen cubits tall, which is 8.3 meters) looks out over the historical park. In the inscription I. King Ramkhamhaeng is mentioned that the king came here riding on elephants, "merits (by merit ) to acquire" (Thai ทำบุญ , Tam bun ).
  • Wat Chang Rop ( monastery surrounded by elephants ) - small temple on a hill. The name probably refers to the Chedi, from whose foundation the remains of 24 elephant heads can be seen.
  • Wat Chedi Ngam - The "beautiful chedi", as it is called, is a large chedi in the Sinhalese style that can be seen from afar.
  • Wat Tham Hip - even further south in the hills lies this small temple, which was badly destroyed by treasure robbers. It has not yet been restored.
  • Wat Mangkon ( Makara Monastery ) - this small temple is located at the foot of the range of hills. Local residents report that a long makara made of glazed tiles once adorned the foundation of the Wihan. During excavations, in addition to the tiles, the clay figure of a Garuda was discovered. The figure and tiles are now in the Ramkhamhaeng Museum.
  • Wat Phra Yuen ( Monastery of the Standing Buddha ) - small temple with a standing Buddha figure made of stucco, which has fallen into disrepair.
  • Wat Tuek - here in a small mondop there is a sitting Buddha figure made of bricks, the former stucco cladding of which is only preserved in sparse fragments. The Mondop itself was originally completely clad with stucco, some of which are still larger. In front of the Mondop there are the remains of a Wihan, of whose laterite columns stumps of different heights have remained and which contains a second seated Buddha figure, also made of laterite.
  • Saritphong Dam - 14th century dam that supplied water to ancient Sukhothai



Web links

Commons : Sukhothai Historical Park  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Roxanna M. Brown: The Sukhothai and Sawankhalok Kilns . In: Dies .: The Ceramics of South-East Asia. Their Dating and Identification . 2nd edition. Art Media Resources, Chicago 2000, ISBN 1-878529-70-6 , pp. 56-80.

Coordinates: 17 ° 1 ′ 2 ″  N , 99 ° 42 ′ 13 ″  E