Thailand has an amazing French-European heritage, which delights both locals and tourists alike. Some of the most popular architectural French masterpieces include the Victory Monument, the Grand Palace, and the French Embassy and people travel from all over the world to see them.
The Evolution of French Architecture
The history of architecture in France goes back to ancient Greece and Rome, which inspired distinctive French features such as domes, arches, and vaults. As a result of the Roman Architectural Revolution, the majority of building materials in France consisted of the more recent invention of concrete. As Clovis began to unify the Frankish kingdom, the need for the building of monastery churches began to rise as they were a driving force of the local economy. Because of this, Armenian and Syrian influence was also brought into the style of French and European architecture.
In the 10th century in France, other architectural advances began to occur including thicker walls, more prominent domes, and large piers. As time passed, religious, artistic, and industrial influences began to shape the characteristics and style of French architecture, until it developed into what we presently know and admire. Now we can recognize some hallmarks of French architecture like the highly ornamented stone balconies, Victorian living spaces, swags, and symmetrical medallions.
Thailand’s storied French past began in the 19th century during the reign of King Rama IV. He was very fluent in the English language and well versed with French and European heritage. As Europe began to colonize and expand in Southeast Asia, countries such as Siam and Laos began to be coerced into signing treaties with France. French colonization continued into the 20th century and in Thailand led to the building of historical landmarks of art and architecture.
The Victory Monument
This obelisk that stands tall in the middle of a busy shopping area in the Ratchthewi District commemorates the Thai victory in war between France and Thailand, which ended in 1941. While other French architecture incorporates Thai symbols, the Victory Monument is entirely European making it somewhat more unique than the others.
The Grand Palace
One of the most splendid examples of French architecture is the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The Grand Palace began in the 18th century and was ordered by King Rama I in an attempt to further establish the Chakri Dynasty. His intent was to move the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok. Today, it remains a functioning royal palace but it is also open to the public as a museum.
The Assumption Catholic Cathedral
Another well-known French inspired structure is the Assumption Catholic Cathedral, built in 1821 and reconstructed around 1910. The cathedral was refurbished again in the 1980’s due to partial destruction during World War II.
Whether you are a photographer seeking a perfect capture or a history buff looking to learn more about culture, Thailand’s French inspired architecture is well worth a visit. Top it all off with some amazing French coffee that you will get in Bangkok’s wonderful cafes!
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Thanks to Ella from TrekBible for this wonderful guest post!0