Sunday, July 17, 2011

"to commemorate transition from absolute to consitutional monarchy"

Bangkok is a huge diaspora of different shapes, buildings and structures all trying to cut their way out of the buzzing city's crowded skyline to become landmarks, a task that is no mean feat in this architecturally overflowing city. Indeed turn a corner and a brand new influence will unexpectedly thrust itself for attention. A few structures though elbow their way successfully out from the crowd to become landmarks and none stands out moreso that the impressive "Democracy Monument" which straddles many influences and was built in 1939 to commemorate transition from absolute to consitutional monarchy and the introduction of Thailand's (then Siam) first constitution. It is located on Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang where it intersects with Thanon Dinso, placing it on the map squarely between Dusit Palace and the Grand Palace meaning that its positioning on the map is also symbolic.

Like so many monuments in Bangkok it is sits astride on a traffic island and the crazy roads of the city mean one has to take ones life in ones own hands if it is to be observed close up. It's concept and structure are impressive. Commssioned in 1939 to celebrate the coup d'etat seven years earlier it was designed by Mew Aphhaiwong while the reliefs were the work of an Italian Corrado Feroci who had been invited to Thailand by King Rama IV a decade-and-a-half earlier to infuse the city with a European art tradition and who had stayed in the country, becoming a citizen and taking the name Silpa Birhasi.

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