Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Throne Hall

On Saturday Sister Meeker and I had the opportunity to go see a Museum called Throne Hall.

The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall  (พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม) is a former reception hall within Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. It now serves as a museum and is from time to time employed for certain state occasions. In 1907, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) commissioned the construction of a reception hall.  The building architecture is Italian Renaissance and Neo Classic style. Marble from Carrara, Italy, and other foreign materials were used. The Throne Hall has a large dome (49.5 m high) in the center, surrounded by six smaller domes. The domes and walls are covered with paintings depicting the history of the Chakri Dynasty, from the first to the sixth reign.  King Chulalongkorn died in 1910 and the building was finally completed in 1915.
It was used as the headquarters of the People's Party during the four days of the 1932 Revolution, which transformed the country's political system from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. The first National People's Assembly convened on June 28, 1932 in this throne hall. After that, it was used as the Parliament House until 1974 when the new Parliament House was opened to the north. However, the old Parliament House is still used for the State Opening of Parliament marking the first assembly in consequence of a general election for the House of Representatives.

The Hall is at the centerpiece of Bangkok's own Champs Elysees. It is a very impressive two-story palace with white marble that sits at the end of Dusit's long, wide Royal Plaza, a leafy ceremonial boulevard that's often the focus of regal pomp and ceremony during royal celebrations.
The hall' neo-classical Renaissance architecture - particularly its central dome - dominate the scene just as Italian architects Mario Tamango and Annibale Rigotti intended. Today its ornate interiors serve as a prestigious locale in which to court visiting dignitaries, hold state council meetings and royal occasions.

Inside is a stunningly beautiful central dome, under which the Royal Throne sits. Lining it and each of the six other domes' walls are frescoes depicting Chakri Dynasty monarchs (painted by Galileo Chini). The long hall on the upper floor is embellished with embossed roman and floral patterns showing Renaissance and Baroque arts. Outside, visitors can find impressive views both from the large paved plaza in front of it or the trim gardens adjoining it with Vimanmek Mansion.

Photography is not permitted inside the building. So I don't have any pictures to show just how beautiful and dramatic the interior is.

One of the things I appreciate about Thai publicly important properties that they classify as Royal Property is the strict dress code that applies to visitors. What this means that you are not admitted if you are wearing flip-flops, shorts, sleeveless shirts or T-shirts.  Females are not allowed to wear pants - they must be wearing a dress or skirt. 

They do have some wrap around skirts for use by the guests if they arrive dressed inappropriately.  In addition the no camera policy was strictly enforced such that they even disallowed Cell phones. They made you put them in a locker provided free of charge.

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