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Thonburi Palace

In Thai, it is known as Phra Rachawang Deum, literally the ‘Former Palace’, but is usually translated as the ‘Old Palace’. It was the royal residence of King Taksin, located in Thonburi, adjacent to Wat Arun and today within the compound of the naval base of the Royal Thai Navy at the old Wichai Prasit Fort (fig.). After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, then general Taksin assembled an army (fig.) to expel the Burmese from Siamese territory and in 1768 founded Thonburi as the new capital, while also becoming the new King of Siam. However, amidst a power struggle with General Chakri, he was accused of megalomania, put on trial, found guilty and executed in 1782, whereupon General Chakri ascended the throne himself as King Rama I. He moved the Siamese capital to the eastbank of the Chao Phraya River, where he had Phra Rachawang, i.e. the Grand Palace (fig.), built as his residence and Thonburi Palace consequently became known as the ‘Former Palace’. The complex includes the Throne Hall, i.e. a venue which was in the Thonburi used for holding court and important ceremonies; Sala Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Maha Raj (map - fig.), a shrine that housed a statue of King Taksin holding a sword in one hand, but which now has been relocated to the riverfront (map - fig.); Keng Koo, a twin residences in Chinese-style, which are referred to as the Chinese-rooftop Twins (map - fig.); Phra Pin Palace Building (map - fig.), which in the Rattanakosin Period served as the residence of Phra Pinklao, the younger brother of Rama IV, who was the Uparacha, as well as the former Royal Thai Naval Academy (fig.), which can be seen from the riverfront gate, that bears the Naval Academy's emblem (fig.), as well as a plaque commemorating the Academy's establishment in 1906 by King Chulalongkorn (fig.), of which the text also appears on a postage stamp issued in 2006, to mark the Royal Thai Naval Academy's 100th Anniversay (fig.). See also POSTAGE STAMPS and MAP.