A province in the central region of Thailand, Lopburi Province is located about 154
kilometres north of Bangkok. Covering an area of 6,199 square kilometres, the province
is situated on the western end of the Korat Plateau. Lop Buri Province is one of
several provinces in central Thailand where many significant historical artefacts
and prehistoric settlements have been discovered.The remains of Lopburi, dating over
1,200 years attests to the strategic significance of Lop Buri to many rulers. These
relics, ranging from the Bronze Age to the Rattanakosin period, have made Lopburi
a blend of east and west and ancient and modern, revealing the city's turbulent and
alluring history and a glimpse of Thailand's extraordinary past.
Lopburi was first developed into a major town during the Dvaravati Kingdom ( 6th
11th centuries ). Most historians believed the first settlers of the town were the
Lawa (an ethnic group related to the Mons) which is the reason for naming the town
Lawo. In 10th century, the town came under absolute sovereignty of the Khmer's who
made it one of their oldest provincial capitals. The Khmer Mahayana Buddhism style
was a major influence on the towns architecture and was later commonly referred to
as Lopburi Style. Remains of Khmer Hindu architectural motifs found in the city include
the Shivas Shrine
( Prang Khaek ), San Phra Kan, Phra Prang Sam Yot, and Wat Phra Si Mahathat.
It was in the late 13th century when the Thais, who migrated from the North, fought
the Khmer's and declared their independence. Since then, Lop Buri has been ruled
by Thai Kings.
Lopburi first became known when King U-Tong, who established the Ayutthaya Kingdom,
sent his son, Ramesuan the Crown Prince, to govern the city. The Prince commanded
the building of moats, city walls and battlement towers.
Lopburi reached its height in 1664 when King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya named Lopburi
the Kingdoms second capital, which came after a threat of invasion from Hollanders.
King Narai the Great rebuilt Lopburi with the help of French architects and ruled
the Kingdom from there, instead of Ayutthaya., Thus the city's architecture mostly
reflected a mixture of Thai and Western styles, which can be seen today in the remains
of the Royal Palace, the Royal Reception House etc.
Lopburi gradually faded from the political scene with the death of King Narai the
Great. It, however, made a comeback about 200 years later when King Rama IV of the
Rattanakosin Era decided to restore the city. He also commanded the restoration of
the old Palace and named it Phra Narai Ratchaniwet ( Narai Ratchaniwet Palace ) in
honour of King Narai the Great.
After Thailand's democratic revolution, Marshall Poh Pibulsongkram rebuilt a military
camp near the city's railroad, therefore, dividing the city into the old ( ancient
) and new zone.