Friday, 21 July 2017

Lop Buri Province

Lop Buri is one of Thailand's oldest cities, and has been a major center of power since the sixth century. The city probably reached the peak of its importance when King Narai (1656-1688) made Lop Buri his second capital and built a large palace here. Narai's reign was notable as the period in which the major European powers first made official contact with the kingdom, seeking trade and influence in the region.

The historical sites are mainly from Narai's era, as well as the Khmer monuments that he restored and converted to use as Buddhist shrines. In recent years, Lop Buri was discovered by tourists who were interested in history and culture, and the city now offers a refreshing insight into Thailand's history.

The town is also overrun with monkeys, most of which take up residence around the city’s historical sites. The monkey buffet festival is held every year in November at Phra Prang Samyot.

Phra Prang Samyot

01 phra prang samyot

Phra Prang Sam Yot is Lop Buri’s best known landmark and provincial symbol. It is located on a mound on the west side of the railway near San Phra Kan. The compound comprises three prangs linked to one another by a corridor. It reflects the Bayon style of Khmer art during the 12th -13th century. It was made of laterite and decorated with beautiful stucco relief.

San Phra Kan Shrine

01 san phra kan

This is another former Brahman shrine located next to Phra Prang Samyot. The compound was built at two different times, and so has both an old and a new section. The former dates back to the Khmer period, as evidenced by a laterite mound uncovered hundreds of years later. The new section, constructed in 1951, contains a famous object of worship: a four-armed Vishnu figure affixed with a Buddha’s head.

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat

01 wat phra si rattana mahathat

This is a large royal temple in the center of Lopburi town. The main prang (spire) was built by the Khmer in the Bayon style around the late 12th century. The U-Thong style Buddha images on the prang and the large vihara were later added by King Narai the Great in the 17th century.