History of Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai Province
The plains along the Yom river and the slopes the hills, Khao Phra Si, Khao Yai, Khao Suwankhiri and Khao Phahnom Phloeng, are strategic locations and quite fertile.These characteristics might explain why this area has been continuosly occupied since early times.

Archaeological Evidence of Pre-Sukhothai Settlements

Si Satchanalai during Sukhothai Period

The existence of early settlements in the Yom river valley is suggested by the discoveries of polished stone adzes at Ban Tha Chai and Si Satchanalai town in Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai Province. Polished stone adzes were also found at Khao Khen and Khao Ga, about 15 kilometres from Si Satchanalai. Since stone adzes have normally appeared in prehistoric settlements in Thailand, this is indirect indication of prehistoric, probably Neolithic, settlements in the Yom river valley. Thai and Chinese historic documents, dated to the 11th century, mention an ancient city in the area belonging to Sukhothai. This city is mentioned in the “Yonok Chronicle” of Northern Thailand as “Chalieng”, and in the chronicle of the Chinese Sung Dynasty it is khown as “Choeng Lieng”.


Archaeological excavations conducted during 1993-1994 at Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat, Wat Chom Chuen and Wat Chao Chan in historic Si Satchanalai town also turned up evidence indicating the existence of pre-Sukhothai activities and buildings in the areas around these temples. Initial human occupation in these excavated areas is now suggested to date to around the 3rd century A.D. Archaeological evidence of the next habitation period here includes 15 burial sites dated to the 5th - 6th century. In the deposits overlying the burials are remains of at least 2 large brick buildings which may date to the 10th-11th century. The next archaeological deposits, immediately below the most upper strata of the Sukhothai period, yield traces of brick buildings and ceramic roof tiles with designs of the Bayon art style of the ancient Khmer. The art style of these objects is comparable to that of parts of Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat Chalieng, which date to the 12th century A.D.
According to early stone inscriptions, local legends, and historic chronicles, 2 large cities existed in the Yom river valley before King Si Indrathit became the ruler of Sukhothai. These cities were called Sukhothai and Chalieng, or Si Satchanalai. A Thai king named Pho Khun Si Nao Nam Thom ruled Sukhothai-Si Satchanalai. When he passed away, a Khmer leader ruled Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai until later, when Pho Khun Pha Muang, a son of Pho Khun Si Nao Nam Thom, cooperated with Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao to defeat the Khmer and regain the two cities. Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao was enthroned as the new king of Sukhothai named Pho Khun Si Inthrathit.
King Si Inthrathit sent his eldest son, Pho Khun Ban Muang, to govern the town of Si Satchanalai. When Pho Khun Ban Muang became King of the Sukhothai Kingdom, he sent his younger brother, Pho Si Satchanalai Historical Park Khun Ramkhamhaeng, to rule Si Satchanalai. The status of Si Satchanalai then changed from an autonomous city into a principality governed exclusively by the crown prince of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng became the king of Sukhothai after his elder brother passed away. During the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng, Sukhothai experienced great economic, cultural, and social development. The ceramic industry prospered. He also had Buddha relics unearthed in order to pay homage before reburying then and building a chedi with a boundary wall over the relics in the middle of Si Satchanalai town.
When King Lue Thai ruled Sukhothai, Phaya Li Thai was the crown prince ruling Si Satchanalai. In 1347, Phaya Li Thai regained the throne of Sukhothai after it had been occupied by a ruler who seized it from the King of the Phra Ruang dynasty.
King Li Thai was a great ruler and scholar. Evidence indicates that he wrote a book called “Trai Phum Phra Ruang”, the book of life and former lives according to Buddhist concepts, while he ruled Si Satchanalai. After he ascended the throne at Sukhothai, he was ordained as a monk. Because of his exemplary activities and behavior, he was named Phra Maha Dharmaraja.
During the time of King Li Thai, who ruled Si Satchanalai before ascending the throne at Sukhothai, many temples were built and restored at Si Satchanalai.
Later, when Sukhothai fell under the power of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, Si Satchanalai still maintained its status as an important town, governed only by a member of the former Sukhothai royal family. However, when King Trailokanat governed Ayutthaya, the status of Si Satchanalai changed to that of a secondary outpost.

Si Satchanalai (Sawankhalok) during Ayutthaya Period

The Sukhothai Kingdom fell under the rule of the Suwannaphum dynasty of Ayutthaya after King Li Thai passed away, around 1370-1371. This is unclear However, the state of occupation was likely to be the relationship between the relatives, especially the dynasty that ruled the important towns such as Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. Towns of a lesser status which refused the rule of Ayutthaya, such as Song Khawae (Phitsanulok) and Cha Kang Rao (Kamphaeng Phet), were subdued.
There was no evidence of protest against the rule of Ayutthaya in Si Satchanalai called Sawankhalok by Ayutthaya. This might be because this town was the first Sukhothai area town that accepted the rule of Ayutthaya. In the early period of Ayutthaya’s control, Si Satchanalai possibly retained their own rulers.
During the reign of King Borom Trailokanat, Sukhothai had already been annexed by Ayutthaya. In the same period, King Tilokarat of Lanna occupied Phrae and Nan. Thus, the boundary of Lanna was adjacent to Si Satchanalai, the northern outpost of Ayutthaya. King Tilokarat seized the towns that were formerly controlled by Ayutthaya, including Si Satchanalai. King Borom Trailokanat resided at Song Khwae and constructed a new town named Phitsanulok in an area of the former town, Song Khwae. The prolonged battle between King Borom Trailokanat and King Tilokarat began, and finally, King Borom Trailokanat was able to recapture those towns.
Si Satchanalai, or Sawankhalok, was an important producer of glazed ceramics, called Sangkhalok wares for Ayutthaya. The products were exported to overseas countries such as the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, etc. Later, after Ayutthaya had improved the administration of the Kingdom, Sawankhalok became a secondary outpost with a ruler appointed by Ayutthaya..

When Ayutthaya was defeated by the Burmese in 1767, the towns under the rule of the Ayutthaya kingdom were abandoned. When the land became peaceful again, Sawankhalok was re-established and moved to Tha Chai village, south of the former location. The town was then moved to Wang Mai Khon village in the early Rattanakosin period. Today, Sawankhalok district is located on the bank of the Yom river, opposite Wang Mai Khon village. The name Si Satchanalai was used for the district where Si Satchanalai ancient town is located.

Religious and Cultural Significance of Si Satchanalai

While known as Chalieng, this town one of the cultural centres in the Yom river valley. When it came under the rule of Sukhothai, and was called Si Satchanalai instead of Chalieng, it remained a town of high status. It was the residence of the crown prince. Most of the kings of the Sukhothai kingdom had been rules of Si Satchanalai before accending to the royal throne in Sukhothai town.
Architectural and archaeological remains found in this historic town clearly indicate that it was not only a politically important town, but also an important religious of centre. The importance of the town was applarent long before the town was included in the Sukhothai kingdom.
During the Sukhothai period the Lankavamsa sect of Hinayana Buddhism was widely practiced. However, religious buildings belonging to Bhramanism and Mahayana Buddhism have also been found at Wat Chao Chan and Wat Phra Si Ratanamahathat Chalieng. This supports the theory that Si Satchanalai had diverse religious practices since early times.
A large number of religious buildings and temples in Si Satchanalai were constructed from laterite, which is found locally. These religious structures were normally coated and decorated with stucco. The decorative stucco sculptures of Si Satchanalai are considered highly artistic achievements of the ancient Thai people.

Technological and Economic Development of Si Satchanalai

The ceramic industry of the town was well known since the time when it was known as Chalieng. During the Sukhothai period, glazed ceramics production at Si Satchanalai developed into the largest glazed ceramic industry in Southeast Asia. The products were exported to neighbouring countries, as well as to countries across the seas.
Iron working and bronze casting were other technologies practiced in Si Satchanalai. Iron weapons, tools and implements, as well as bronze objects found here, attest to these technological developments.

Si Satchanalai Historical Park

The area registered as Si Satchanalai Historical Park covers 3 subdistricts : Tambom Sarajit, Tambon Nong Or, and Tambon Tha Chai, of Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai Province. The total area of the park is about 45.14 square kilometres. There are 215 historic buildings in this historical park. However, the historic town of Si Satchanalai is located in the village of Ban Phra Prang, Tambon Si Satchanalai, about 550 kilometres to the north of Bangkok..
Historic Monuments inside the City Wall
Lak Muang (Town Post)
Wat Chang Lom
Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo
Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng
Wat Khao Suwankhiri
Wat Nang Phaya
Wat Suan Kaeo Utthayan Noi
Wat Suan Kaeo Utthayan yai
Wat Udom Pa Sak
Historic Building Number BN.11
The Historic Building Number BN.11
The Royal Palace
Gate and Fortress
Si Satchanalai City Walls
Historic Monuments to the East of the City
Wat Suan Sak
Wat Pa Kaeo or Wat Tri Phum Pa Kaeo
Historic Monuments to the West of the City
Ancient Irrigation Dike
Wat Chedi Ain
Wat Chedi Chet Yot
Wat E Pur
Wat Hua Khon
Wat Khao Yai Bon
Wat Khao Yai Lang
Wat Phaya Dam
Wat Phrom Si Na
Wat Rahu
Wat Rang TT.4
Wat Rang TT.5
Wat Sa Khai Nam
Wat Sa Pathum
Wat Yai Ta
Historic Monuments to the South of the City
The Town Wall of Chalieng
Wat Chao Chan
Wat Chom Chuen
Wat Khok Singkharam
Wat Noi
Wat Noi Cham Pi
Wat Phra Si Ratanamahathat
Historic Monuments on Top of Hills
Wat Khao Indra
Wat Khao Kaeo
Wat Khao Phra Bat
Wat Khao Phra Si
Wat Khao Rang Raeng
Amphoe Muang
Phra Mae Ya Shrine
Amphoe Sawankhalok
Sawankha Woranayok National Museum
Amphoe Si Satchanalai
Ruin of Old Celadon Factory (Thuriang Kiln)
Celadon Kiln Site Study
Si Satchanalai National Park
Si Satchanalai Ordination Celebration
Amphoe Khiri Mat
The Ramkhamhaeng National Park (Khao Luang)




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