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Temples

Wat Ratchabophit and its Cross-Cultural Architecture

Wat Ratchabophit is a temple that was built during King Chulalongkorn’s reign, dating back to 1869. This temple is a great place to visit as one can see the cross-cultural architectural influences between Europe, China, and Thailand.

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Wat Ratchabophit is a temple that was built during King Chulalongkorn’s reign, dating back to 1869. According to royal Thai tradition each monarch was to have his own temple of his reign, which is what influenced King Rama V to have it constructed. The temple was built with a unique layout in mind and is joined by a circular courtyard, which features a chedi within its center. There is also a royal cemetery that lies west to the temple grounds.
South to the temple grounds lies the housing area for the monks and temple workers, accompanied by a Chinese style building at the farther end. 

This temple was built after the Industrial Revolution in Europe. The reason there is a lot of European influence is because of the transition period that occurred during the 19th century, which ultimately led to new manufacturing processes and the discovery of new
materials. Ultimately this influenced new movements within architecture and art regarding design and construction techniques. Globalization was slowly being born, which influenced the construction design plans within Thailand’s Wat Ratchabophit. This is why a European influence can be seen within the carved guards on the doors. Additionally, the King’s visit to Europe influenced his decision to have the interior of the temple be covered in gold, something often seen in Italian architecture. The clashing of cultural architecture can be seen within distinct parts of the temple, the exterior being Thai and the interior being European styled. Some visitors even report that many of the buildings within the temple have a Gothic vibe. 

As already mentioned, the royal burial grounds lie on the west end of the temple. Numerous monuments, members of the Royal Family, and the ashes of certain individuals lie here. The most notable major and minor monuments include those within the immediate family of King Chulalongkorn. These monuments add to the architectural aesthetic feel of the Gothic elements within the temple, as one can see a mini cathedral. South to the temple grounds lies a building influenced by China. This building was once used to house the kings during their stay in the temple. Other instances of Chinese architecture can be found, such as Chinese porcelain. 

Wat Ratchabophit lies nearby the well-known Grand Palace. Visitors that would like to attend should know that the temple is opened daily from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon. There is no entrance fee and it is extremely important to be culturally aware of the dress code. Visitors are advised to stray away from wearing shorts or tank tops. Visitors can access the temple via boat, using the Chao Phraya River Express Ferry to the
Tha Thien pier. This temple is a great place to visit as one can see the cross-cultural
architectural influences between Europe, China, and Thailand. 


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