A: The Ancient City is not the replica in sense of minimizing the sizes of the constructions like the miniature city. However, the Ancient City brings back the verisimilitude of Thailand in the past to visitors’ perception. On the area as large as 600 rais, both the copies and the artefacts of the archaic sites and relics of historically and culturally national importance are laid out in the fittingly relevant pattern and environment. The conveyance of people’s thinking systems, imaginations and believes in the concrete, tangible forms can induce visitors to appreciate the continuity of history, cultures, religions, arts, attitudes and lifestyles of Thai folks, from the past to present. More than that, the visitors can deeply absorb the great diversity of architecture, arts and religions, not to mention ways of living. Hence, the Ancient City can’t be included with the replicas or miniature cities, but it is by its own virtue the reflection of the old-day cities, bringing the Thai back to touch and feel the ancient Siam Kingdom.
Q: I’ve visited the Ancient City many times and really like it, for I think it’s greatly beneficent in terms of education and aptly offers recreations and leisure time for the whole family. That’ why I’d pleased to know who originated this place and what is the concept behind its construction?
A: The originators are the couple, Khun Lek and Khun Prapai Wiriyapan, both of whom long passed away. Their heirs have succeeded and been running this enterprise, focusing on improvement and preservation of what the couple started. About the concept behind the Ancient City, we found it in “the Desire to Erect the Ancient City,” the words of heart from the originating couple. We proudly quote some extracts: “the Ancient City is the city in the past…Today events have the root from the past…past events are thus something the present generation need to know, for if we knew not our past, we were simply sailing without compass and helm…” …Damage is the child of ignorance, but worse is false knowledge. The more one falsely knows, the quicker the castastrophe…Everything in the universe arises from appropriateness of the nature…why, of the cultures and traditions left behind by our ancestors, are some neglected and some destroyed despite their rightness for our society and environment? As the result, I wish that all human fellows acknowledge our cultures and traditions as I am convinced that it would be useful to all human beings, at least as a reminder for those getting lost in the modern world. This is my objective of erecting “the Ancient City” with the hope to correct the vice in our present society…” Khun Lek and Khun Prapai Wiriyapan, the originator of the Ancient City, established this place for the sake of all people, including Thais and other human fellows, thinking of “others’ benefits” than “personal benefits.”
Q: The Ancient City comprises a number of constructions, both copies and artefacts, with decoration of magnificent artwork and elegant gardens filled with grand trees, even waterfalls, and mounts. So I’d like to know whether this place is private or public, if is supported in any ways from the government, and how much the total construction and decoration cost.
A: From private creativity and ambition to create education advantages for Thai people, especially youths, of Khun Lek and Khun Prapai Wiriyapan, the Ancient City was founded to be the heritage of both Thai people and the world. Throughout its operation, it has been standing on its own without any financial support from the government. Although the revenue from admission fee hardly meets with the construction and maintenance expenses, this place has always proven to be the real labour of love. It’s hard to estimate the exact cost, for the Ancient city construction didn’t follow the “blueprint” or wasn’t completed in the same contact. It, however, is the city that has been growing gradually with its own evolution and constant dynamics for nearly half the century.
Q: Is it true that “the Ancient City,” “the Erawan Museum,” and “the Truth Palace, Pattaya” were created by the only person. If it is true, what was on the mind of the creator since all these places are so majestic and splendid that they must have cost incalculably? And my last question is whether the three are related to one another?
A: It’s true that the “Ancient City,” “the Erawan Museum,” and “Truth Palace, Pattaya” was created by just one person. In fact, they are created from collaboration of Khun Lek and Khun Prapai Wiriyapan, for these grand pieces couldn’t have accomplished, if Khun Lek, although the sole designer, planner and construction supervisor, hadn’t been encouraged and relieved from other familial burdens by Khun Prapai, his wife. Besides, after some progress in “the Erawan Museum” construction, Khun Pakpian, their eldest son, took responsible of the project supervision until completion. The creator of these places wasn’t driven by investment incentive, but it was the beneficence for the vast majority that lied behind his ambition. Each place has its particular meaning and importance. We can conclude the meanings of these places which reflect their association with the simply phrase “3 awareness.” “The Ancient City” aims to wake up the awareness of Thailand and the varied races and tribes inhabiting on this land in different aspects. “The Erawan Museum” is intended to convey the awareness of oriental believes toward cosmology. “The Truth Palace” promotes awareness and learning of eastern philosophy, especially about life (meanings, goals, and ideals), attitudes about religious morality and world-pillar virtues, relationship between human beings and their surroundings, and living together in peace.
Q: Why should we visit the Ancient City?
A: Briefly reply, because of its value. To clarify from the objectives of the Ancient City, it can be said in the big picture that the Ancient City is the portrait of the ancient Siam that mirrors the future of humanity. In general, the Ancient City is the reflection of the variety of traditional cultures in Thai Kingdom, demonstrated through the verisimilitude and magnificent presentation, a wide range of architectural symbols combined with fine arts and craftsmanship, structural layout and natural environment that integrate harmoniously. This creates kind of atmosphere that induces visitors to perceive and appreciate the continuity of history, cultures, religions, arts and customs of Thai people from dawn until now. The Ancient City, therefore, is the place which brings Thai people back to the root of Thainess, bolstering the pride in cultural heritage accumulated by our forefathers and passed on to the later generations. The foreign visitors can also feel the essence of Thai lifestyles. The Ancient City is then comparable to the historical record opening to learn freely and revealing the profound Thai wisdom. Moreover, the creation of historical symbols and relevant environments helps well reflect the patterns of thought and feeling within Thai society and culture. Even the new formulation of novel artistic concepts, such as the Sumeru Mountain, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Kuan-yin), Performing a Miracle, or The Garden of the Gods, all reflect religions, thinking systems, and belief systems of the people in Thai society. As the result, it can’t help to commend that the Ancient City is a valuable attraction worth visiting of all Thai and foreign visitors.