The mansion was commission by King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) in 1900. The king returned from a European tour in 1897 much impressed by the architecture of the palaces he saw. He purchased some farm land northeast of the royal city and ordered the construction of a garden which he christened "the Dusit Garden."
Vimanmek Mansion was built soon after as the first structure in the garden. The original structure was actually brought from Sri Chang Island in Cholburi province where it was known as the Munthaturattanaroj Residence. The king had the building dismantled and bought to Bangkok, where it was rebuilt as Vimanmek Mansion. The completion ceremony was held on March 27, 1901. The king moved out of the Grand Palace and lived in the Mansion until 1906. He then moved to the Amporn Satarn Residence, which was built at the south end of the gardens, but no longer exists.
When Rama V died in 1910 the royal family moved back to the Grand Palace and Vimanmek Mansion was closed. It was reopened for a time during Rama VI's reign, then closed upon his death. King Rama VII had the Mansion upgraded with electricity and general repairs. After the coup overthrowing the absolute monarchy in the 1930s the buildings and grounds, though still used for storage by the royal household, came under the control of the army.
Around the time of Bangkok's bicentennial in 1982, Her Majesty the Queen discovered that the building was still intact and in good condition. She requested the King's permission to restore the mansion and turn it into a museum to commemorate King Rama V and preserve Thai heritage.
Over the last 20 years, not only has the main building been carefully restored and bought back to life, but most of the surrounding residences, built for Rama V's consort, princesses and other wives, have been restored as well.
All of the buildings of the Dusit Palace compound are now open to the public. Inside are exhibitions of court memorabilia, artefacts of ancient history and Thai heritage.
|« Previous Page||Next Page »|