Thonburi Old Palace which locates at the area of the Royal Navy Office on the Thonburi side of the river was built by King Taksin at the mouth of Bang Luang Canal after he regained Siam 's independence from Burmese and reestablished the capital from Ayutthaya to Thonburi.
This palace had been the country's capital for 23 years before King Rama I moved to the opposite bank of the river and established the new capital in Bangkok . So the Thonburi old Palace was used for the royal residence of many princes until A.D. 1900 when there was no prince stayed here, King Rama V used it as Royal Navy College . The College carried out some alterations on the palace, but the Throne Hall, a Chinese style chapel, and the shrine of king Taksin were kept in their original form.
1. The Throne Hall
When King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi, he built this Throne Hall and a Chapel in Chinese style. At present the Royal Navy uses the inner Throne Hall as a reception room for the very important visitors and also as a conference room. The outer part of the Throne Hall is occasionally used for special functions.
2. The Chinese Bell
In the outer part of the Throne Hall, a large Chinese bell with characters inscribed on it hangs. The hanger of the bell is in the form of a dragon with a crystal ball in its mouth. The bell-stand is in Thai style. The capital of the pillar is carved in the shape of a lotus flower and naga twists its body around the pillar. It is supposed that the stand was made later but the two objects match each other very well, however.
3. Chinese Style Mansions
Here King Pinklao, younger brother of King Rama IV, was born and stayed for some time before moving to the Palace of the front. Afterwards several other princes stayed in this mansion. At present the top floor is used as an office of specialists in the Royal Navy.
There are another two Chinese style Mansions that are situated close to the eastern gate of the palace. The inner building used to be the bed chamber of King Taksin. At present, it is used as the office of the Photographic Section and Storage of the Strategy Department of the Royal Navy.
4. King Taksin's Shrine
This has been there since the time of King Taksin but was probably then only the spirit house in the palace. Since King Pinklao had stayed in the palace for 27 years, it is thought that he repaired the shrine. King Rama V's letter to Vice Admiral Phraya Chonlayut Yothin, mentioned “King Taksin's Shrine”. Thus it is quite certain that the shrine was there prior to the reign of King Rama V at least.
5. Wichaiprasit Fort
Wichaiprasit Fort was built during the reign of King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya in the 17 th century. The year of construction is not known. When it was first completed it was called “Wichayen Fort”. When King Taksin founded Thonburi as the capital in 1771, he made some alterations to it and changed its name to “Wichaiprasit”.
When King Rama V handed the former Palace over to the Royal Navy College , this fort came under the responsibility of the Royal Thai Navy. The Fine Arts Department has now registered it as a national monument.
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-- Edited by arwee on Friday 29th of July 2011 03:34:48 PM
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