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In the busy intersection of Ratchadamnoen Road, Bangok, a short distance from Rama VII Museum, the city’s royal palaces and Sathorn Bangkok Hotel stands Bangkok’s iconic Democracy Monument. Built to commemorate Thailand’s transition from a 150 year-old monarchical rule to democratic governance, Bangkok’s Democracy Monument near Anantara Bangkok Sathorn has been the setting for many violent protests most notably in 1973 and 1992 against the dictatorship rule of military regimes.
Designed by Thai architect Mew Aphaiwong, the Democracy Monument is steeped in symbolism. Built in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 Siam revolution that established democracy and produced Thailand’s first constitution, the hard-to-miss monument displays carvings by Thailand’s famous immigrant, Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci who founded of Thailand’s famous Silpakorn University dedicated to Fine Arts. In the centre of the monument stands a 3 meter-tall dome-shaped structure on which sit two golden offering bowls which bear a sculpted box that represents the 1932 Thai Constitution. With 24th June being the date the landmark new constitution was signed, the height of the central pedestal represents the third month of the Thai calendar and the 75 cannon balls that once stood at the base of the monument represent the Buddhist era 2475 or A.D 1932 during which the constitutional transition occurred.
Around the central pedestal are four wing-shaped towers that represent the Thai armed forces, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police personnel who participated in the coup that helped establish democracy. Measuring 24 meters in height, the winged columns symbolize the historic date of 24th June signifying the freedom and rights of the Thai people. On the towers are inscribed the words Independence, Economics, Inner Peace, Equality, Liberty, and Education, the six guiding principles of governance in the democratic Thai State. Unlike other monuments found across Thailand, the monument’s four towers do not depict royal or Buddhist images and are instead decorated by images of soldiers, police and civilians engaged in heroic battle to help establish democracy, closely guarded by the sculpted Nagas who are vow to guard the hard-won freedom of the Thai people.
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travelers.