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Kamphaeng Phet (กำแพงเพชร)

Thai. ‘Jewelled wall’ or ‘diamond wall’. Historical capital of a contemporary province (map) of the same name in North Thailand. The city has app. 24,000 inhabitants and is situated 358 kms North of Bangkok. The city was once an important outpost of Sukhothai, and a buffer against attacks from Burma. Its name stands as a symbol for the history of this principality, which served as a ‘wall (kamphaeng) as hard as a diamond (phet)’, preventing the enemy to go beyond it. It later became an outpost of Ayutthaya. Geographically it is located in the lower North on the bank of the Ping river. River flats make up much of the East of the province, whereas the West consist of mostly mountains covered with forests. Its places of interest include the remains of the old city and its wall, a historical park and a national museum. Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park (map - fig.) is situated on the east side of the Ping river, dates from the late Sukhothai to early Ayutthaya period (14th to 15th century AD), and covers an area of 3.4 square kilometers. It comprises some 60 separate historical sites and structures. It is divided into two sections, namely the city of Kamphaeng Phet itself, which lies within the ancient city walls, and a portion known as Aranyik (อรัญญิก), which lies in the forest outside the northern walls. The national historical park was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 12 December 1991 and appears on a set of four postage stamps issued in 1996 to commemorate the annual Thai Heritage Conservation Day (fig.). The region of Kamphaeng Phet is known for the cultivation of gluay khai, a banana (gluay or kluay) shaped like an egg (khai). The province has nine amphur and two king amphur, 78 tambon and 823 villages, known as mu ban. See also See also Kamphaeng Phet data file.