Bangkok, Thailand’s vibrant capital is one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations. It is a global city and a regional focus for commerce, finance, culture, politics, entertainment and fashion. The city possesses many historical and cultural sites, notably its palaces and thousands of temples in addition to its well-known entertainment venues.
Originally a minor trading centre during the Ayutthaya kingdom, the town came into prominence when it was named the capital of Siam in 1768. Its strategic location made it an important focus in the colonial era, making it a vital centre for the European powers. However it remained an independent and flourishing city, developing steadily into the thriving metropolis it has now become.
The National Museum is Thailand’s foremost museum, emphasizing exhibits featuring Thai art and history dating back to Neolithic times as well as more recent features.
The museum was established under the direction of King Rama V in 1874 to display the royal collection of items belonging to King Rama IV in addition to other historical and cultural exhibits. Originally located at ‘Concorde Pavilion’ the collection was moved to its present location at ‘Wang Na’, formerly the palace of the Prince Successor. Steady expansion in subsequent years has made it the impressive display it now is.
The Gallery of Thai History describes the development of Thailand from prehistoric times to the early Thai kingdoms right up to the modern kingdom founded in Bangkok. The Museum’s private chapel contains a ‘Phra Singh’ Buddha image similar to the ones found in prominent Thai temples.
The museum’s imposing Throne Hall is now mainly used for special displays. Each of the other halls of the museum is devoted to particular aspects of Thai culture. You will find galleries focusing on clothing, musical instruments, clothing, ‘khon’ masks and a comprehensive assortment of weapons.
A point of interest is the ‘Red House’ which draws its name from the red stained teak it is constructed from. There are also several picturesque pavilions which have been brought to the museum from other palaces. A modern building houses massive ornate ceremonial chariots, used almost solely for royal funerals.
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