Bangkok, Page 114, Bangkok, Phra Nakhon District. Forts Mahakan and Pra Sumen on Rattanakosin Island.
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Home Page Site Map. site map for Bangkok, Page 113, Bangkok, Phra Nakhon District. Forts Mahakan and Pra Sumen on Rattanakosin Island. Bangkok, Page 115, Phra Nakhon District. Forts Mahakan and Pra Sumen on Rattanakosin Island.

Mahakan Fort, located next to Wat Ratchanaddaram, is just one of the two remaining fortresses of medieval Bangkok ( the other being Phra Sumen Fortress ). It was built when the old city of Bangkok was protected by moats. There were three moats radiating from the Royal Palace. In the olden days, there were 16 gates and 14 forts into the old city of Bangkok It has a width of 38 meters and a height of 4.9 meters. It has three floors with staircases leading to the first two. The highest floor is an octagonal tower with an entrance. In addition, part of the old city wall is still standing. It runs for about 200 metres along Maha Chai Road. Today only Phra Sumen and Mahakan remain. Mahakan Fort is octagonal in shape.

Mahakan Fort was raised in status to a  National Ancient Monument of Thailand by the Fine Arts Department in 1949. The government wanted to turn the area between the canal and the city wall into a park, but were met with resistance from the community that stay on that land. Now the authorities are looking into turning it into a living museum of vintage houses. Rattanakosin  also known as Rattanakosin Island, is the historic centre of Bangkok, where most of Bangkok's must see sights can be found, including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

Rattanakosin was established in 1782 when King Rama I moved the Siamese capital across the river from Thonburi, starting a period in Thai history known as the Rattanakosin Period. Spending a few days in this remarkable district does not just show you dozens of traditional Buddhist temples, palaces, museums, parks and monuments, but also gives you a better understanding of the culture, history and religion of the Thai people.

The Rattanakosin Kingdom was the fourth Thai Kingdom, after the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Thonburi Kingdoms that preceded it. When the powerful Ayutthaya Kingdom was destroyed and burnt down by Burmese armies in 1767, a small period of chaos and Burmese occupation ensued in the lands of Siam. The resistance was led by General Taksin, a capable military leader who defeated the Burmese within one year and established the new Siamese capital in Thonburi, right across the Chao Phraya River from Rattanakosin.

When Phraya Chakri, a popular general under King Taksin who had successfully managed the invasion of Cambodia, returned, he was offered the throne. He was crowned King Rama I, the first King of the Chakri dynasty that started the Rattanakosin Period. One of his first actions was to move the capital across the river, from Thonburi to Rattanakosin. According to him, Rattanakosin had a more strategic location, as he turned it into an artificial island with the Chao Phraya River in the west and man-made canals in the east. Previously, Chinese merchants had occupied Rattanakosin, but they were now relocated outside the new city walls.

Bangkok, Phra Nakhon District. Forts Mahakan and Pra Sumen on Rattanakosin Island.