In 1782, King Rama I ascended the throne as the first ruler of the Chakri dynasty and made Bangkok the capital of the entire kingdom, founding it on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River in the Rattanakosin region.
At the time, in order to defend the city against attacks, King Rama I had a series of moats dug around the city to completely isolate it from the mainland. Hence the name of the island of Rattanakosin.
In fact, a few years earlier, the Burmese had completely destroyed the old capital Ayutthaya and the political situation therefore required a major fortification.
Phra Sumen Fort was erected in 1783, just to defend the city of Bangkok, with its octagonal tower towering above, and is one of only two remaining towers (14 were built in total, almost all of which were destroyed). It is a white three-story structure with many rooms that were used at the time to store weapons and ammunition for possible attacks.
In 1785, the Burmese army invaded Thailand again, but never managed to destroy the city of Bangkok.
The fort of Phra Sumen today
In 1982, during the celebration of the bicentennial of the foundation of the city, the Phra Sumen fort was renovated by the department of fine arts. Old photos of the fort, taken during the reign of King Rama V (Chulalongkorn), were used as architectural and stylistic inspiration for the renovation.
On the upper floor of the fort is a museum with many artifacts found during the renovation on display for all to enjoy. Phra Sumen, also called Phra Sumeru by many, is now a national monument.
The park near the fort
Between the fort and the Chao Phraya River, you will find the Santichaiprakarn Park. From here you will have a great view of the river, but also of the majestic modern Rama VIII bridge, which you can see in the distance. Take a short walk to Phra Pinklao Bridge to the south and you will soon arrive at Phra Arthit Pier, from where you can ford the Chao Phraya River by boat and enjoy a splendid view of the city. After sunset, the fort is illuminated by floodlights, creating a particularly attractive spectacle, especially for tourists, but also for young lovers who enjoy a few hours of relaxation on the fort’s lawn.
This well-maintained park is very popular, especially on weekends, with fishermen, families having a picnic and young people who want to enjoy the coolness and breeze of the flowing water.
How to get there
Phra Athit Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand