The core city was surrounded by walls and earthen ramparts; this forms the centre of the historical park. It was rectangular, 1,300 m. by 1,800 m., with four gates. A stone inscription records that King Ramkhamhaeng the Great set up a bell at one of the gates. If his subjects needed help, they could ring the bell and the king would come out to settle disputes and dispense justice. Within the walls are the remains of 35 structures. The most notable are described as follows:
Royal Palace and Wat Mahathat
The Royal Palace lies in the centre of the city, surrounded by a moat and contains two main compounds: the royal residence and the royal sanctuary. Here, the famous stone inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great was found by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 19 th century together with part of the stone throne called Manangkhasila-at. King Ramkhamhaeng the Great set up a throne in the midst of a sugar-palm grove where, at his request, a monk preached on Buddhist holy days and the king conducted the affairs of state on other days. This throne was later installed in Bangkok’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Lying west of the Royal Palace compound is Wat Mahathat, the royal sanctuary, which is Sukhothai’s largest temple with a customary main chedi (bell-shaped stupa) in a lotus-bud shape and ruined vihara (image hall). At the base of the chedi are Buddhist disciples sitting in adoration, and on the pedestal are sitting Buddha images. In front of this reliquary is a large vihara formerly containing a remarkable sitting bronze Buddha image of the Sukhothai style, which was cast and installed by King Lithai of Sukhothai in 1362.
In the late 18th century, the image was moved to the Vihara Luang of Wat Suthat in Bangkok by the order of King Rama I and has since been named Phra Si Sakaya Muni. In front of the large vihara, is another smaller vihara which was probably built during the Ayutthaya period. Its main Buddha image (8 m. high) was installed inside a separate building. In front of the southern image, a sculpture called Khom Dam Din was found, now kept in the Mae Ya Shrine near the Sukhothai City Hall. To the south stands a pedestal of a large stepped chedi, whose lowest platform is adorned with beautiful stucco figures of demons, elephants, and lions with angels riding on their backs. A mural painting adorns this chedi.
King Ramkhamhaeng the Great Monument
Situated to the north of Wat Mahathat, the bronze statue of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great sits on a throne with a bas-relief at the base depicting the king’s life.
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