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Virtual Earth map of The Democracy Monument, BKK, Thailand

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The Democracy Monument was started in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 revolution that ended the absolute monarchy and introduced Siam's first constitution. The design of the monument is full of symbolism. For example, the four wings are each 24 meters high, signifying the 24th of June date the new constitution was signed. The location of the monument, between the old Grand Palace and the Dusit Palace, is also significant. A copy of the original constitution is held in central pedestal.

Oddly enough, the Democracy Monument was designed by an Italian immigrant. Corrado Feroci was invited to Thailand in 1924 by King Rama VI to develop a Western-styled art tradition. The sculptor stayed in Thailand, became a Thai citizen (back when that was possible for a Westerner) and changed his name to Silpa Bhirasi.

The monument has some interesting details in its bas relief panels on the bases of the wings, but braving the traffic whizzing around the site can be a bit daunting. There are plans afloat to turn Raja****oen Road into Bangkok's "Champs Elysees" which include underground tunnels to make access to the monument easier and safer.



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