Vimanmek Museum in Remembrance of King Chulalongkorn

Since the year 2010 marks the centenary of the demise of King Chulalongkorn the Great, or Rama V, the Thai government has organized several activities in honor of the King. In order to know more about him, it is suggested that people visit Vimanmek Museum, one of Bangkok’s “must-see” cultural attractions, with many exhibits that have connections with King Chulalongkorn.
Located within the Dusit Palace compound on Ratchawithi Road, behind the National Assembly and near Dusit Zoo, Vimanmek is the world’s largest golden teakwood mansion. It now serves as a museum of the era of its founder, King Chulalongkorn.
Literally meaning “Castle in the Clouds,” Vimanmek was constructed on its present site in 1901 from golden teak taken from a mansion on Si Chang Island off Chon Buri province in the East. The construction of the island mansion had been halted because of a political crisis in Franco-Thai relations, resulting in the blockade of the Gulf of Thailand by French gunships.
It took only seven months for the construction of Vimanmek to be completed. The teakwood mansion was once the residence of King Chulalongkorn, who personally planted numerous trees to provide shade and greenery, forming lush surroundings for the beautiful teakwood mansion. King Chulalongkorn lived in this mansion for six years. After his death, Vimanmek was deserted. In 1982 when Thailand was celebrating the Bangkok Bicentennial, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit initiated a major renovation, bringing the long-deserted royal residence out of the clouds.
Since then, Vimanmek has been open to the public, as a museum containing many items and photographs in the collection from King Chulalongkorn’s period. The three-story wooden palace has 81 rooms and halls, not counting the terraces and verandahs.
The mansion was decorated in the Victorian style popular in Europe at that time. Near the entrance to Vimanmek Mansion is the Royal Carriage Museum, where a number of royal horse-drawn carriages once used during the reign of King Chulalongkorn are kept. The Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall in the east wing of Vimanmek is now Thailand’s first handicraft museum established by Her Majesty the Queen. Handicraft masterpieces created by the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques, or the SUPPORT Foundation, are displayed in this throne hall. Visitors will find such handicrafts as Thai silk, nielloware, and wickerwork.
Visitors are requested to be dressed appropriately upon entering the ground of the Vimanmek. The museum is open every day; official hours are between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Vimanmek Museum and adjacent buildings are of historical significance. The compound is also a reminder of the era of King Chulalongkorn, one of the great monarchs of the Rattanakosin period. The museum, in particular, serves as a showcase of Thailand’s national heritage.
Source: http://thailand.prd.go.th/view_inside.php?id=5312

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