The Democracy Monument ( Anusawari Prachathipatai) is a public monument in the center of Bangkok, capital of Thailand. It occupies a traffic circle on the wide east-west Ratchadamnoen Klang Road, at the intersection of Dinso Road. The monument is roughly halfway between Sanam Luang, the former royal cremation ground in front of Wat Phra Kaew, and the temple of the Golden Mount (Phu Kao Thong).
The monument was commissioned in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 Siamese coup d'état (also called "Siamese Revolution of 1932" or just 1932 Revolution) which led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in what was then the Kingdom of Siam, by its military ruler, Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram (commonly called Por , otherwise called Phibun). Phibun saw the monument as the center of what he envisaged as a new, westernized Bangkok, "making Thanon [road] Ratchadamnoen the Champs-Élysées and the Democracy Monument the Arc de Triomphe."
The story represented by these sculptures was a considerable distortion of the truth. In fact the 1932 coup was planned and executed almost without bloodshed by a small group of officers and some civilian collaborators, while the king was on holiday at the seaside . The coup was followed by the promulgation of Thailand's first constitution, but this was far from fully democratic. In the mid 1930s there was an attempt to progress to full democracy, but this broke down amid a split between the military and civilian elements of the government, and by 1939, when the Democracy Monument was built, Thailand was in effect a military dictatorship.
The most striking absence from the iconography of the Monument is the monarchy, which today is at the center of Thai national life and political culture. The fact that the 1932 coup was staged against King Prajadhipok (Rama VII), uncle of the present King, and that he went into exile and eventually abdicated rather than accept the country's degeneration into a military dictatorship, is today seldom mentioned. Although the military regime paid lip service to the monarchy, its political ideology (an ultimately incompatible mix of European liberal constitutionalism and military Bonapartism) was essentially republican. Prajadhipok's successor, Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) was at the time a schoolboy in Switzerland. Now that Thailand is (ostensibly) a democracy, very few Thais are aware of the propaganda content of the sculptural works at the base of the Democracy Monument; because the enormous growth in the volume of Bangkok's traffic, and the fact that pedestrian access to the traffic island on which it stands is all but impossible during periods of heavy traffic, it is difficult to observe the details of the Monument up close. There are now plans to build a tunnel under the roadway to allow better access (as has been done at the Berlin Victory Column, which is similarly located).
History with the help of Wikipedia.
The Democracy Monument was a homage to Western Style Democracy by the Thai Field Marshall Phibun Pibulsonggran as a testament to his vowed reforms that made Siam into Thailand and made Thailand from an aboslute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932 (when they hade a military coup against the king then, Prajadhipok). The 150-year-old absolute monarchy came to an end and Thailand changed to a constitutional government. It was an Italian artist and sculptor, Corrado Feroci who designed the Democracy Monument.
Despite the self-justifying intent of the Phibun regime in erecting a monument to its own seizure of power and calling it a monument to democracy, Democracy Monument's rather dubious origins are now largely forgotten, and it has served as a rallying point for later generations of democracy activists. It was the focus of the mass student demonstrations against a later military regime in 1973, and of the protests that triggered the 1976 military coup. In 1992 scores of Thais were killed as they protested at the Monument against General Suchinda Kraprayoon's regime. These events have given the Monument a legitimacy it lacked for much of its history.
The best way to see the old part of Bangkok Rattanakosin area near the Democracy Monument is by walking.
Start at the Banglampuu Pier.Go along Phra Artit Rd pass the old city Phra Sumen Fort the centerpiece of Santichaiprakan Park. Head towards Khao San Rd passing Wat Chana Songkram one of the nine sacred temples of Bangkok.Cut through Khao San Road the center of the backpackers and turn left at to visit Wat Bowoniwet to see the Chinese style of the temple's decorations.Make your way to The Democracy Monument to check the four wings design which are each 24 meters high, signifying the 24th of June date the new constitution was signed.
From here you can vist The Queen's Galley for art, King Prajadhipok Museum,Wat Ratchanadda where you can see an unusual building called the Loha Prasat. Within the same temple is a popular amulet market that makes an interesting place to browse. Then head on up to the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) to get view of the surrounding area.By this time you should be totally exhausted so proceed to Thanon Tanao where you will find some very good food.
This monument, located in the middle of Ratchadamnoen Avenue.
Name: Democracy Monument
Attraction Type: Monument
Location: Ratchadamnoen Avenue
Pictures in the web:
Attractions and places of interest in Bangkok
First Photo: Democracy Monument
Second Photo: Democracy Monument
Third Photo: Information about the monument
Fourth Photo: Democracy Monument
Fifth Photo: Democracy Monument
This monument lies in the middle of a roundabout on the wide east-west boulevard Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang, at the intersection of Thanon Dinso. The monument was commissioned in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 Siamese coup d'état which led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in what was then the Kingdom of Siam.
The centrepiece of the monument is a carved representation of the Thai Constitution of 1932, on top of two golden offering bowls above a round turret. The Constitution is symbolically guarded by four wing-like structures, representing the four branches of the Thai armed forces - army, navy, air force and police - which carried out the 1932 coup.
This important monument was designed by an Italian immigrant, Corrado Feroci.
It was built in 1939 to commemorate the 24th June, 1932 coup. 1932 was the year that the People's Party and the Military faction staged a coup, and this resulted in the way Thailand is governed today.
The coup at the time, led to Military dictatorship, but today, there is a balance between the Monarchy and the Military.
The Monument has four curved, arched columns leaning slightly inwards. Each column is 24metres high, this was done to signify the 24th June, 1932. The columns are meant to signify the rights and freedom of the people of Thailand. There used to be a ring of 75 cannons to symbolize the Buddhist year of the revolution which was 2475, these are no longer there.
A copy of the original 1932 constitution is kept in a pedestal, in the centre of the four columns. The six swords on the doors of the pedestal represent the six major policies of the People's party. The six gates of the turret represent, Independence, Internal Peace, Equality, Freedom, Economy & Education.
You can also see relief sculptures around the base of the monument, these were done by Corrado Feroci. It is said that they are a little biased towards the ideals of the regime.
It is situated in the middle of a busy traffic roundabout and has the nice Thanon Ratchadamnoen Ceremonial Boulevarde leading to it.
It is a bit difficult crossing the road to get a good look at it.
Interesting only for contemporary history lovers because il signs the end of the absolute monarchy in Thailand, in 1932. On the base ythere are bas-reliefs made by Corrado Feroci.
Open daily 8.00 - 18.00, entrance fee: 10 THB.
If you want some airconditioning, just go and sit by the MacDonalds near the Democracy Monument, then you also have a good view on this monument, it is okay, not that beautiful, but it is huge and dominates the street!
This monument, on Ratchadamnoen Klang, is built to commemorate the change to a constitutional monarchy in 1932. It is right in the middle of a roundabout and I did not cross this very busy street to have a closer look.
Built to commemorate the 1932 revolution that ended the absolute monarchy and brought about the nation's first constitution. The four wings are each 24 meters high, signifying the 24th of June date the new constitution was signed. The center of the monument contains a carved representation of the Thai Constitution of 1932.
I took this picture my last night in Bangkok as I went zooming by the Democracy Monument on a motorcycle in heavy traffic....
Many times we travel pass this place as it is located in the middle of a traffic roundabout on Ratchadamnon Road. This place reminds our moment of first constitution. The Democracy Monument was constructed in 1932 to commemorate thailand's first constitution. Its a signalling a change of government from absolute monarchy to democracy with the king as head of state.
Finally I got a chance to stop by there by the night of Songkran festival, this place was central spot of the festival, decorated with light, fountain and colourful dragons, so beautiful !!! (more photos at my travelogue)
This very recognisable monument was constructed in 1932, as a symbol of the transition from absolute monarcy to constitutional monarchy in Thailand. This is the site of pro-democracy rallies.
I took this picture when we were most recently in Bangkok, which coincided with the rallies leading up to the election, and the whole Thaksin "issue". The traffic was gridlocked around Bangkok - and we took to walking everywhere possible. We went by this daily, as we wandered between Chinatown and Khao San Road. This photo was so clear of traffic, because it was banked up elsewhere - everwhere!
The 24m tall Democracy Monument was made to commemorate Thailand's 1932 switch from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. It was here that many Thais were killed protesting against a military coup in 1992. The design is of a large copper tray carrying the constitution, supported by a pedestal.
Democracy Monument in Banglamphu on Ratchadamnoen Road looks so much more impressive at night when the lights are turned up and the traffic dies down.
The monument appears every night on Thai TV with the National Anthem. If you happen to be around the area and the anthem plays, stand still and show a bit of respect, everyone else in the general vicinity will be.
It is also used as a backdrop by the BBC when they are reporting from Bangkok and the guy goes "this is Anthony Tremblylip, from Bangkok for the BBC". So if you tick this site off, whenever you see the international news you can shout in your living room "I've been there! That's Democracy Monument, oooh look over on the left is Khao San Road where Doreen met Jonathon for the first time".
The monument itself represents justice and the reliefs on the four "pillars" offer us some recent scenes from Thai history and society.
Another advantage of seeing the DM at night is that you can cross over the four lane highway encircling the roundabout and get close up to the reliefs. With a reduced risk of getting mown down by a Metropolitan Authority bus.
Two restaurants overlook the monument, so it is good to get here at 9.00pm for a Thai meal, watch the scenes while eating, and after your Nescafe take a walk around the old city area to lose those calories. The cooler quieter evening has always made this a memorable night for my visiting mates.
(We avoid the Vijit Restaurant like the plague... it tends to be full of folk reading Lonely Planets eating Sliced Beef in Oyster Sauce.)
While out seeing the Golden Mountain, my brother and I walked back to Khao San road and stopped by the Democracy Monument. The sun was just starting to go down and the traffic all around, it was quite busy, however we still managed to get a good view of the terrific site.
It is something different to see and experience while you are in Bangkok, not to mention the history behind it.