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Sukhothai (Thai: สุโขทัย) is one of the northern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phrae, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Tak and Lampang. Sukhothai can be translated as Dawn of Happiness
Sukhothai, meaning the Dawn of Happiness, was a town founded in the 13th century on the fringe of the Khmer empire. The exact year is unknown but according to the Fine Arts Office it was between 1238 and 1257. Founded by Phokhun Si Intharathit, it was the first truly independent Thai (Siamese) Kingdom after defeating the Khmers. Sukhothai enjoyed a golden age under their third king, King Ramkhamhaeng, who was credited with creating the Khmer-derived Thai alphabet which is essentially the same as that in use today. He also laid the foundation for politics, the monarchy and religion, as well as expanding its boundary of influence. Sukhothai was later ruled by many kings. The province is most famous for the historic city of Sukhothai, the capital of the Sukhothai kingdom. It is located about 12 km from the modern New Sukhothai city. Not far from Sukhothai are the Si Satchanalai historical park and the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, both were cities within the former Sukhothai kingdom and of the same time period.
The province was at first known as Sawankhalok, it was renamed to Sukhothai in 1939
Sukhothai Historical Park Sukhothai Historical Park is located in Tambon Muang Kao, Ampher Muang Sukhothai. It is twelve kilometers away from town. It is opened daily from 8.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m. Ruins of the royal palaces, Buddhist temples, the city gates, walls, moats, dams, ditches, ponds,canals, and the water dyke control system, which were the magical and spiritual centre of the kingdom, are now preserved and have been restored by the Fine Arts Department with the cooperation of UNESCO. It’s not only with a view of fostering Thailand's national identity but of safeguarding a fine example of mankind's cultural heritage.
The park covers the ruins of the ancient glorious Sukhothai Kingdom. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in December 1991. During its golden age, Sukhothai was the centre for administration, religion, and economy. The original city was surrounded by walls with 4 city gates. Today the walls house a number of sites worthy of visiting. They include:
The Royal Palace
The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum
The Ramkhamhaeng Monument
Wat Si Sawai
Wat Traphang Ngoen
Wat Traphang Thong
Wat Chana Songkhram,
Wat Sa Si
San Ta Pha Daeng (the Deity Shrine)
Wat Mahathat The largest temple with a customary main Chedi in lotus-bud shape and an 8 metres high Buddha image.It is located in the middle of town that reflects to prosperity of the Sukhothai architecture within the monastery are housed Phra Rattana Chedi, the pagoda of the temple, which was erected on the Charot Withithong Rd.The museum collection includes gifts from the ex-abbot of Wat Ratchathani and art objects unearthed in Sukhothai and nearby provinces, so if everyone is interested in art objects, Monument of Phor Khun Ramkamhaeng museum is a good place to visit.
Sri Sachanalai Historical Park It is a place that has been registered by the UNESCO as the world’s heritage like Sukhothai historical park. It is situated at Kaeng Luang in Tambon Sri Sachanalai, Amphur Sri Sachanalai, about fifty-two kilometres away from town centre.It is formerly called "Muang Chaliang," was named "Si Satchanalai" during the reign of Phra Ruang when a new administrative centre was established to replace Chaliang. Ruins of 134 monuments have been discovered within the park.
Ramkhamhaeng National Park
Ramkhamhaeng National Park is a place that is widely known as Pa Kho Luang. It covers an area of about 341 square kilometers, or 213,125 rai. It is blessed with wildlife, birds, natural beauties including fertile tropical jungles and mountain. Ramkhamhaeng National Park, within the province of Sukhothai, is surrounded by the districts of Kirimas, Ban Dan Lan Hoi, and the provincial capital of Sukhothai.
Khao Luang Khao Luang is an important source of water for its’ surrounding areas. This exquisite national park with a combined natural and historical background covers an area of 341 square kilometres, and was declared to be a national park on October 27, 1980. High hills and steep cliffs some over 1,200 metres above sea level, together with fascinating falls, different species to plants and wildlife are some of the major attractions available in this park offered to nature loving tourists or visitors. Furthermore, the archaeological and historical sites with ancient remains and relics make the park even more attractive, especially for critics and theologians. The park also contains a lot of natural beauties such as the Khao Luang mountain range, Sai Rung Waterfall, an herbal garden, and the Savannah located in the high country of the Khao Luang range. High country of the Khao Luang mountain range: The 4 main peaks of the park are within the high country. These peaks offer beautiful views. Khao Phu Ka and Khao Phra Mae Ya at 1,200 meters above sea level are the park's highest summits. Looking up from the park's headquarters one can see the outline of a woman, in what some people would say is a very suggestive position, on one of the ridgelines.
Sri Sachanalai National Park Sri Sachanalai National Park was proclaimed a national park on 8 May, 1981. With a total area of 213 square kilometres in Amphoe Si Satchanalai and Amphoe Thung Saliam of Sukhothai Province, Si Satchanalai National Park offers trekking routes through waterfalls and caves. There is Tad Dao Waterfall, originated from the Tha Pae stream The 30-meter-high fall is wonderful. Ideal for rest and relaxation. Thara Wasan Cave, blessed with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites, is located about 1.5 km away from the park's office. Wildlife, in particular hundred thousands of bats is found here.Tad Duan Waterfall, situated about 500 meters away form the office of the park, is ideal for swimming. Coveniently accessible. Everyone can enjoy
Phra Mae Ya Shrine (ศาลพระแม่ย่า) Situated in front of the City Hall, Thanon Nikhon Kasem, by the Yom River, the shrine is highly respected by Sukhothai residents. It houses an idol of Phra Mae Ya, a stone figure with a long face, tapered chin, long halo and dressed as an ancient queen. The idol is supposed to have been built during King Ramkhamhaeng the Great’s reign as a dedication to his late mother Nang Sueang.
In this connection, the word Phra Mae Ya or grandmother in Thai is literally a term of endearment since the local people regarded King Ramkhamhaeng the Great as their father. The statue was formerly housed in a rock shelter of Phra Mae Ya Mountain. The Sukhothai residents later relocated it to the present shrine situated in front of the City Hall. The shrine is also believed to house the spirit of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. The Phra Mae Ya Fair is held annually in late February.
Sangkhalok Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์สังคโลกสุโขทัย)
It is located within Mueang Ake Plaza, Thanon By-pass, just 12 kilometres off the old city. The museum displays more than 2,000 pieces of Sangkhalok ceramic wares collected from various sources both locally and internationally.
Fish Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ปลาในวรรณคดีเฉลิมพระเกียรติ)
This is located in the Rama IX Park, along Highway No. 12. It displays a variety of fresh water fish mentioned in Thai literature such as the travel poems titled Kap Ho Khlong Nirat Phra Bat and Kap Ho Khlong Praphat Than Thongdaeng, and the Kap He Ruea boat song by Chaofa Thammathibet (Chaofa Kung).
Ramkhamhaeng National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติรามคำแหง)
The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum houses many artefacts found from archaeological excavations in Sukhothai, as well as, those given by the locals. The museum is divided into three premises: the Lai Sue Thai Chet Roi Pi Memorial Building, Museum Building and Outdoor Museum.
Sawankhaworanayok National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติสวรรควรนายก)
The exhibits are in a two-storey building. Upstairs houses sculptural collections from various periods, mostly those formerly collected within the compound of Wat Sawankharam and offered by Phra Sawankhaworanayok. In addition, there are Buddha images, relocated from the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, from the pre-Sukhothai to the early Ayutthaya period.
Centre for Study and Preservation of Sangkhalok Kilns (ศูนย์ศึกษาและอนุรักษ์เตาสังคโลก (เตาทุเรียง))
This compound is considered the industrial area of Si Satchanalai. Numerous celadon wares in perfect and broken conditions have been discovered. The kiln is oval in shape with a curved roof like that of a ferryboat and is 7-8 metres long.
The centre consists of 2 buildings situated on the kiln site area with 2 kilns Nos. 42 (ground level) and 61 (underground) exhibited in situ. There are also exhibitions on artefacts, academic documents, and on the evolution of ancient ceramic wares