Rattanakosin came into being when King Rama I
ascended the throne in 1782. He decided to
establish the new capital on the east bank of the
Chao Phraya River for better security from
King Rama I was determined to build a new
capital to revive the glory and splendor of old
Ayutthaya. The new capital was proclaimed
and hence began the Rattanakosin era or
Bangkok period under the glorious reign of the
King Rama I choose a site just north of Wat Pho
an old 17th century temple. With the Chao
Phraya on the west and the Lod Canal on the
east, the new capital was far more defensible.
In accordance with Thai customs, the first task
was laying the foundation pillar for the new city.
The City Pillar Shrine or Sao Lak Muang was
established on 21 April 1782. Later King Rama
IV, an avid astrologer, felt that a more auspicious
location was required. The shrine was moved to
the present location on 5 December 1852.
Construction of the Grand Palace commenced on
6 May and King Rama I occupied the royal
residence on 13 June. Hundreds of boatloads of
rubble were shipped from the ruins of Ayutthaya
to build the city walls and public buildings of
At the same time, the Temple of the Emerald
Buddha or Wat Phra Kaeo was constructed and
completed in 1784. The Emerald Buddha was
brought across the river from Wat Arun and
installed in the new temple in the same year.
Within the walls of the Grand Palace grew a self-
contained city that held the seat of government
and religion. It was the pride of the Chakri
dynasty and Rattanakosin, the city that rose to
glory from the ashes of Ayutthaya.