6 June 2024

A retired fine arts lecturer at Chiang Mai University has claimed that the ancient Chiang Mai city wall and Chang Phuak Gate, which partially collapsed due to heavy rain last weekend, are not the original wall and gate built over seven centuries ago, but were rebuilt only about 80 years ago.

Emeritus Professor Surapol Damrikul said in his Facebook post today (Monday) that it was fortunate that the wall partially collapsed, so people in Chiang Mai would know that this wall and gate were rebuilt and were an eyesore on a historical site.

He claimed that the entire ancient city wall and gates were destroyed and all the old bricks sold long ago and that they were eventually rebuilt some 80 years ago by then Chiang Mai mayor Tim Chotna without any historical basis.

He claimed that there are only two old pictures showing the Tha Pae and Chang Phuak gates in the National Archives, adding however that, of all the rebuilt gates, only the Tha Pae Gate was rebuilt on the orders of former Chiang Mia governor Chaiya Poonsiriwong, in line with the original design and with permission from the Fine Arts Department.

He asked the people of Chiang Mai to understand that the collapsed recently Chang Phuak Gate was not an ancient gate and prayed for that heavy rain, induced by tropical storm Noru in the next few days, will bring down the three remaining rebuilt gates as well.

Another Facebook page claimed that the Chang Phuak Gate, which is shown in the old picture kept at the National Archives, is in fact the Hua Wiang Gate.

Ancient city wall in Chiang Mai partially collapses after heavy rain