Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and the country’s largest city. It is located on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
The word “bang” means village, “kok” a tree growing in Thailand with fruits that resemble either small plums or large olives. However, the taste of these fruits does not look like European.
Fishermen’s village of Bangkok existed on the banks of the river Chao Phraya long before in 1767, after the Burmese destroyed the old capital of Siam Ayutthaya, on the opposite side of Bangkok, in Thonburi, temporarily moved the capital of the country.
Thonburi was not so much the capital as the military camp of a country that was still at war. In 1780 the Thais were able to finally expel the Burmese from their territory led by a young general, who in 1782 ascended the throne under the name of King Rama I. Today Thailand is ruled by the Chakri dynasty, founded by Rama I. The current king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is officially called Rama IX.
It was the ancestor of the dynasty that made Bangkok the capital of the country – he ordered the digging of a canal that connected the two ends of the river and turned the territory of the future Asian city into an easily defensible island.
Early in its history, Bangkok was better known to foreigners, as it was in this village where they waited for an invitation to the capital of the country, here they pass the time before going upriver to Ayutthaya. Already in the XVII century there was a good fort with taverns, hotels, customs.
Since the river were the main transport arteries of Siam, the capital of Ayutthaya after the arrival of Europeans called “Venice of the East” – because almost all traffic on it went by canal by boat.
When King Rama I in 1782 built his palace in Bangkok and proclaimed the city the new capital of Thailand, already under the name of Krun Thep (City of Angels), foreigners continued to call it Bangkok. The Thais began to build their new capital on the model of the old Ayutthaya, reproducing the palaces, temples and canals of Ayutthaya in the new city. Now Bangkok was already called the Venice of the East.
In order not to forget the lost capital, they built here the exact replicas of the major temples and palaces so appeared complex of buildings of the Grand Royal Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. And this beautiful city, which has grown, took both banks of the river Chao Phraya and absorbed Thonburi, and continued to live under two names as the “city of angels” for the Thais and Bangkok – for the world.
At the beginning of its metropolitan history, Bangkok was built as planned, within the island of Rattanakosin, formed by the Chao Phraya River and several canals, as well as in the areas closest to the island. But in the early twentieth century Bangkok rapidly began to take over the outskirts and grow without any plan. By the mid-1930s many canals were filled in. Strict restrictions, regulating new construction, appeared only in the late 70’s of XX century, when the city has already been built a lot of skyscrapers.
When in the mid-seventies in the countries to the north of Thailand, communist and socialist regimes emerged, Thailand with its capital has become a kind of bulwark of the Western world in Asia – here from the north moved the headquarters of many international organizations. And accordingly, the entertainment industry developed along Western lines.
Thanks to the efforts of wealthy Thais, and especially the royal family, the city has acquired a set of beautiful buildings and complexes – its palaces, temples and museums attract millions of tourists.
The name of the island of Rattanakosin, within which Bangkok developed until almost the end of the XIX century, translated as “the highest jewel”. The new royal dynasty had an obvious desire to replicate the look of the lost capital Ayutthaya, as well as to protect the city from new invasions and preserve the culture of the country. On an artificially created island, the architecture of the ancient capital was carefully replicated. Canals surrounded the island and a wall was erected with towers, watchtowers and gates. All the most significant works of art created by artists and craftsmen of Siam were transferred to Bangkok.
On the west bank of the Chao Phraya River lies Thonburi, the former temporary capital of the country, absorbed into Bangkok. Canals have been preserved here, and many residents still build their houses on stilts, and the main means of transportation remains the boat.
Old Town – the spiritual and historical center of the capital of Thailand, where are the Royal Palace (Grand Palace) with the temple of the Emerald Buddha, as well as the Temple of the Lying Buddha (Wat Pho) with a sacred statue, a length of 46 meters, completely covered with gold petals. The main square opposite the Great Palace (Sanam Luang) is the site of traditional ceremonies, and the 18th-century palace building houses the National Museum, which houses the country’s most comprehensive collection of art and exquisite antiquities.
Next door to the Old Town, in the district of Dusit, is the royal residence of Chitralada Palace. This is where King Rama IX of Thailand Phumipon Adulyadej lives with his family The palace complex covers one square kilometer, on which fit several artificial lakes, garden park in its corners beats beautiful fountains, decorated with sculptures in the late Baroque style, depicting scenes from the myths. White elephants are Thailand’s greatest value, and the king has the largest herd of white elephants on the grounds of the residence. The Dusit area is also home to the famous Vimanmek teak palace and the Thailand Zoo.
The Chinatown area is famous for the Golden Buddha Temple, which houses the largest sitting Golden Buddha statue, five meters high and weighing five and a half tons. According to legend, this statue was poured with cement during the Burmese raid on the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. But those who did it were killed, and the fact that under the layer of cement there was a beautiful statue was discovered quite by accident in the 20th century.
The Jim Thompson House Museum, which actually consists of several Thai houses brought in from the province, is home to the Silk Museum. The legendary Thai silk, which has a unique luster, is still in great demand. Jim Thompson the American who came to Thailand after the Second World War, was shocked by the culture of Thailand and collected a wonderful collection of art and antiquities.
The palaces, temples and museums of Bangkok leave an impression of true royal splendor – and no wonder. The valuable ornamental stone, precious wood, gold, silk, crystal, murals and carvings all combine to create an atmosphere of royal luxury. Many of the temples and palaces were created by members of the ruling family, who even did the architectural design. Collections assembled by Thai monarchs, princes and their consorts have become the backbone of museums. Bangkok is a truly royal city.
- Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.
- Administrative divisions: 50 districts.
- Language: Thai.
- Religion: Buddhism.
- Currency: baht.
- Seaport: Bangkok (via Chao Phraya River).
- Major airports: Suvarnabhum International Airport and Don Mueang Airport.
- The largest river: The Chao Phraya.
- Area: 1568.7 km2.
- Population: 8,281,522 (2010).
- Population density: 5202.1 people/km2.
- Ethnic composition: Thais – 75%, Chinese – 11%, Malays – 3.5%, other nationalities – 10.5%.
Climate and weather
- Tropical monsoonal.
- Average annual temperature: +27.8°C.
- Average annual rainfall: 1498 mm.
- Economic and financial center of Thailand, place of work of the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
- Oil refineries, enterprises of food industry, cement factories, sawmills, shipyards, textile enterprises, jeweler industry.
- Tourism is the main source of income.
- Wimanmek Palace (Teak Palace)
- Grand Palace
- Zoo of Thailand
- Chitralada Palace
- Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple)
- The Governor’s official residence
- Victory Monument
- Wat Inzarawihan Temple
- National Gallery of Thailand
- National Museum of Royal Barges
- National Theater
- National Museum of Bangkok
- Wat Mahat That
- Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
- Siam Museum
- Wat Pho Temple
- Wat Rachabophit Temple
- Pak Khlong Talat Market
- Wat Saket Temple
- Wat Sutkhat
- Wat Traymit Temple (Golden Buddha Temple)
- Wat Arun Temple
- National Museum of History
- Museum of Technology
- Jim Thompson House Museum
- Snake Farm
- Mandarin Oriental Hotel
- King Thaksin Monument
- Lumpini Park
- The full official name of the city of Bangkok in Thai means “the city of angels, the great city, the city – the eternal treasure, the impregnable city of God Indra, the majestic capital of the world, gifted with nine precious stones, the happy city full of abundance, the grandiose Royal Palace resembling a divine abode, where reigns the god-transformed city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn”. No wonder it made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
- The oldest buildings in Bangkok – the Royal Palace (Grand Palace) – 1782 and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha – 1784 Emerald Buddha, for which the temple was built, one of the first buildings of the new capital – one of the most revered Buddhist shrines. It is a statue of green jadeite, about 48 cm wide and 66 cm high, which depicts the Buddha sitting cross-legged in a pose of meditation. According to the Thai chronicles, it was found in the northern Thai town of Chiengrai in 1434 AD when a lightning strike caused the old pagoda to crack and the statue was walled up inside. In 1468 the statue was moved to Chiengmai, the capital of one of the first Thai states. After a long relocation, in 1778 the future King Rama I of Siam, founder of the Chakri dynasty, returned the Buddha to Thailand.
- Vimanmek Palace, the Teak Palace, is indeed built entirely of teak wood and is the largest wooden palace in the world. King Rama V moved this building to Bangkok in 1900. Today it is a museum featuring royal collections, including a collection of royal carriages.