Grand Palace (Bangkok)

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Chakri Maha Prasat in the Grand Royal Palace of Bangkok
Chakri Maha Prasat in the Grand Royal Palace of Bangkok
Belfry from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Wall painting on Phra Rabiang in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Giant guardians from the temple

The Grand Palace ( Thai : พระบรม มหาราชวัง , pronunciation: [ pʰráʔ bɔrom máʔhăː râtt͡ɕʰáʔwaŋ ], in English usage: "Grand Palace") was the official residence of the kings of Siam (today's Thailand ) in Bangkok from the end of the 18th century to to the middle of the 20th century. After the death of King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) in 1946 in the Borom Phiman Palace, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) decided to move the residence to the Chitralada residence of the Dusit Palace .


Only 15 years after the Burmese destroyed the old capital Ayutthaya , the newly crowned King Rama I (Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok) set out to restore the glory of the Siamese Empire. He decided to lay the foundation stone for a new palace on the eastern bank of the Mae Nam Chao Phraya ( Chao Phraya River ) on May 6, 1782 . A district was defined that was located north of Wat Potharam (today Wat Phra Chetuphon, or Wat Pho for short ) and south of what was then Wat Salak (today Wat Mahathat). The eastern bank of the river was originally very swampy, so it had to be drained first. A narrow canal, the Khlong Lord ("straw canal") was dug for this purpose as early as the time of King Taksin . A community of wealthy Chinese merchants who probably supported what was then Wat Potharam already lived where the new palace was planned. They were kindly "asked" to relocate their businesses to the "Gardens", a then uninhabited area in front of the city now known as "Sampeng". Then the first temporary buildings of the new palace could be built from wood and wickerwork.

June 10, 1782 was determined as the auspicious date on which the king from the old palace of King Taksin, the Phra Raja Wang Derm, which was located in Thonburi right next to today's Wat Arun , ceremonially crossed the river to take over his new abode .

The entire area was initially surrounded by a heavily fortified wooden palisade . It was later replaced by a 1.9 km long, high brick wall that should shield the palace from the outside. The urgently needed building materials, such as bricks, were brought by ship from the destroyed palace in Ayutthaya. The first phase of construction was completed in 1785, so that the palace could be officially inaugurated in a grand ceremony.


The entire complex of the old royal palace follows surprisingly exactly the construction plan of Wang Luang (royal palace of the kingdom of Ayutthaya ), which was destroyed a short time before . The complex consists of an approximately 2.6 km² site on the east bank of the Chao Phraya near King's Square, the Sanam Luang . Various structures and facilities are arranged here, the most important of which is Wat Phra Kaeo , the temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Today's structures on the site are the result of construction activity that has been ongoing since 1782, since then buildings have been newly constructed, expanded, rebuilt, renovated or demolished to make way for new facilities. The first phase of this construction activity was completed for the enthronement of King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) ; on June 13, 2006 the newest building was inaugurated, the Borommaratchasathit Maholan Throne Hall ( พระที่นั่ง บรม ราช สถิต ย มโหฬาร ).


The current palace consists of four parts, the Outer Court , the Central Court , the Inner Court and the Wat Phra Kaeo , each of the parts was functionally tailored to those who lived or worked there. The inner courtyard in the northern part of the palace, in which only women were allowed, is surrounded by a high wall. Female guards stood at the entrances to this area. The outer courtyard is located in the southern part, here the ministries with which the king often had to do, the treasury and the royal guards were located.

The central courtyard is the most impressive part of the palace. This also consists of four complexes: the so-called first building group, the complex around the Chakri Maha Prasat , the group around the Dusit Palace and the group around the Borom Phiman Hall . The Wat Phra Kaeo Museum is somewhat hidden in the southern part of the central courtyard.

The complex of the palace is modeled on the old royal palace in Ayutthaya, which was destroyed by the Burmese shortly before the palace in Bangkok was planned.

First group of buildings

The first group of buildings, the Phra Maha Monthien group, is located in the center of the old royal palace and has already been completed and used for the coronation ceremony of Phra Phutthayotfa (Rama I) . To this day it forms the framework for the official coronation celebrations of the Chakri dynasty .

Chakri Maha Prasat group

This group was established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and originally consisted of eleven buildings, of which only three remain today. An outstanding building is the Chakri Maha Prasat with the throne hall attached to the rear.

The Chakri Maha Prasat, which King Chulalongkorn had built, was completed in 1882, and Bangkok celebrated its centenary in the same year. Nowadays only the reception areas are used. The Chakri group consists of the throne hall and two wings. The throne hall was used for many occasions, but above all to receive foreign ambassadors on the occasion of the presentation of their accreditation letters and for state banquets in honor of foreign heads of state. The walls of the throne hall are decorated with four canvases on which diplomatic receptions of the past are recorded. The painting on the east wall shows King Mongkut's reception for the British envoy, Sir James Bowring. On the right wall is a reception at Buckingham Palace given by Queen Victoria in honor of King Mongkuts (Rama IV) ambassador. Further back, on the western wall, you can see the reception of Louis XIV in the glass gallery of Versailles in honor of the diplomatic corps that King Narai of Ayutthaya had sent to France. The third canvas on the other side of the hall shows King Mongkut's reception for a French envoy. And the fourth canvas gives a reception to Napoleon III. in Fontainbleu again, which was given in honor of another diplomatic delegation of King Mongkut. The crystal decorations in the hall are mostly gifts from foreign kings to King Chulalongkorn.

Phra Thinang Dusit Maha Prasat

Dusit group

The group consists of the Dusit Maha Prasat Coronation Hall, the Phra Thinang Phiman Rataya and the Aphonphimok Pavilion.

Phra Thinang Borom Phiman

Borom-Phiman complex

The group consists of Phra Thinang Siwalai Maha Prasat, Phra Thinang Sitalaphirom, Phra Phuttha Rattanasathan, Phra Thinang Boromphiman and Phra Thinang Sutthaisawan.

Wat Phra Kaeo Museum

The museum is somewhat hidden in the southern part of the central courtyard. It is housed in a western-style building that was built by King Chulalongkorn as the "Royal Mint" (mint). When Wat Phra Kaeo was renovated for the 200th anniversary of Bangkok, some architectural elements had to be renewed, the originals are kept here in the museum. Several Buddha statues that were donated to the temple by kings or private individuals are exhibited here. On the upper floor there is a model of Wat Phra Kaeo at the time of King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok ( Rama I ) and the so-called “Manangasila throne”, which King Mongkut found in Sukhothai on Noen Prasat in 1833 .



  • Naengnoi Suksri: The Grand Palace, Bangkok . River Books, Bangkok 1999, ISBN 0-500-97479-9
  • KI Matics: A History of Wat Phra Chetupon and its Buddha Images . The Siam Society , Bangkok 1979 (without ISBN)

Individual evidence

  1. Page about the Borommaratchasathit Maholan Throne Hall ( Memento of the original from January 20, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (in Thai) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Web links

Commons : Phra Borom Maharajah Wang  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 13 ° 45 ′ 0.2 ″  N , 100 ° 29 ′ 28.7 ″  E