City Walls and Fortresses in Bangkok

by Richard Barrow

Modern day Bangkok was established in 1782 in an area now known as Rattanakosin Island. This was centered around the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The western and southern sides were already protected by the Chao Phraya River. So, a moat was dug along the northern and eastern sides in 1785 by prisoners of war. This created an artificial island. This moat is now known as Banglampu Canal in the north and Ong-Ang Canal in the east. A city wall, measuring 7.2 kilometers long was then built along the moat together with 14 forts and 16 tower gates. Only two of these forts and a section of wall survive today. In 1852, the population of the city had grown so much that King Rama IV ordered the building of Phadung Krung Kasem Canal to serve as an outer moat. In addition, eight new forts were built, though this time no wall was constructed. Only the remains of one of these forts remain.

List of surviving forts in Bangkok

Phra Sumen Fort,ป้อมพระสุเมรุ,13.763978 100.495767
Mahakan Fort,ป้อมมหากาฬ,13.755648 100.50553
Wichaiprasit Fort,ป้อมวิไชยประสิทธิ์,13.742187 100.49084
Pong Patchamit Fort,ป้อมป้องปัจจามิตร,13.730971 100.509532

List of 14 forts surround Rattanakosin Island

  1. Phra Sumen Fort (ป้อมพระสุเมรุ), at the mouth of Bang Lamphu Canal (northern section of the outer moat)
  2. Yukhonthon Fort (ป้อมยุคนธร), just north of Wat Bowonniwet
  3. Maha Prap Fort (ป้อมมหาปราบ), between what are now Phan Fa Lilat and Chaloem Wan Chat Bridges
  4. Mahakan Fort (ป้อมมหากาฬ), now next to Phan Fa Lilat Bridge
  5. Mu Thaluang Fort (ป้อมหมูทลวง), in front of the former Old Bangkok Remand Prison
  6. Suea Thayan Fort (ป้อมเสือทยาน), just north of Sam Yot Gate and Damrong Sathit Bridge
  7. Maha Chai Fort (ป้อมมหาไชย), near what is now the intersection of Maha Chai and Yaowarat Roads
  8. Chak Phet Fort (ป้อมจักรเพชร), just north of the mouth of Ong Ang Canal (southern section of the outer moat), near what is now Chak Phet Road
  9. Phisuea Fort (ป้อมผีเสื้อ), near what is now Pak Khlong Talat
  10. Maha Roek Fort (ป้อมมหาฤกษ์), opposite Wichaiprasit Fort, now the location of Rajini School
  11. Maha Yak Fort (ป้อมมหายักษ์), next to Wat Pho
  12. Phra Chan Fort (ป้อมพระจันทร์), next to what is now Tha Phra Chan
  13. Phra Athit Fort (ป้อมพระอาทิตย์), at what is now the end of Phra Athit Road
  14. Isinthon Fort (ป้อมอิสินธร), between Phra Athit and Phra Sumen Forts

* Only Phra Sumen Fort and Mahakan Fort have survived

List of eight forts along Phadung Krung Kasem Canal

  1. Pong Patchamit Fort (ป้อมป้องปัจจามิตร), opposite the southern mouth of the canal on the western bank
  2. Pit Patchanuek Fort (ป้อมปิดปัจจนึก), next to the canal’s southern mouth, on the eastern bank
  3. Huek Hiam Han Fort (ป้อมฮึกเหี้ยมหาญ), a small fort used for firing gun salutes
  4. Phlan Phairi Rap Fort (ป้อมผลาญไพรีราบ), in the area of what is now Hua Lamphong Market
  5. Prap Sattru Phai Fort (ป้อมปราบศัตรูพ่าย), near what is now Nopphawong Bridge. It is the namesake of Pom Prap Sattru Phai District.
  6. Thamlai Porapak Fort (ป้อมทำลายปรปักษ์), near what is now Chaturaphak Rangsarit Bridge
  7. Hak Kamlang Datsakon Fort (ป้อมหักกำลังดัสกร), near what is now Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge
  8. Maha Nakhon Raksa Fort (ป้อมมหานครรักษา), next to the canal’s northern mouth

* Only Wichaiprasit Fort and parts of Pong Patchamit Fort have survived.

Sources of information: Wikipedia