|ANCIENT DOCK OF ROYAL BARGES
|Text by Tricky Vandenberg - January 2010
Updated 8 November 2013
|The ancient Dock of Royal Barges stood on the north bank of the old Lopburi River (presently named Khlong Mueang or City
Nicolas Gervaise, a French priest residing in Ayutthaya in the late 17th century wrote in his work "The Natural and Political History of the Kingdom
"Outside the palace on the left can be seen on the river bank the great boat-houses where the royal barges are kept. There are more than a
hundred and fifty of these barges and all of them are as magnificent as the ones that were brought out on the arrival of the ambassador of
In the "New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam" written by de La Loubère we read that the ancient dock was divided in separate trenches
each locked up in a wooden and roofed enclosure.
"Their arsenal is over against the palace, the river running between. There every one of these barges is locked up in a trench, where into
runs the water of the river; and each trench is shut up in an enclosure made of wood, and covered. These enclosures are locked up, and
besides this is a person watches there at night." 
There were 20 barge houses adjacently situated, from the mouth of Khlong Khu Mai Rong to Wat Choeng Tha.  The Kalahom or Minister of
Defense was in charge for the dock.  The dock and the barges were destroyed in the Burmese attack of Ayutthaya in 1767. No visible traces
remain of it and the landscape has been unfortunately largely altered.
On Vicenzo Maria Coronelli's map published in 1696, we find the word "Arsenale" east of a canal or river. It remains unclear if this was the location
of the Royal Barges Dockyard near Khlong Khu Mai Rong or the location of Riverine Vessel Dockyard, situated at Ban Wat Tha Ka Rong on the
Chao Phraya River. The latter provided shelter for approximately 200 vessels. 
 The Natural and Political History of the Kingdom of Siam - Nicolas Gervaise (1688) - (White Lotus 1998) page 33.
 A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam - de La Loubère - page 98/99.
 Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - page 297.
|(A wooden bow of a royal barge from the Late Ayutthaya style dating back to the
17-18th century found in the Lopburi River (Khlong Mueang today) between Tha
Wasukri and the defunct Royal Barges Dockyard (situated before between Wat
Phanom Yong and Wat Choeng Tha) by Phraya Boran Rachathanin. It is assumed
that the glass-inlaid, lacquered and gilded, wood-carved Garuda-ﬁgure was part
of the bow of the “Mongkol Suban Royal Barge" in the Late Ayutthaya period. The
Garuda-ﬁgure wears a crown, neck decorations, breast chain, bracelet, and
bangle, and raises its hands at the level of the breast with upturned palms. The
middle ﬁnger and ring ﬁner are inflexed. The image is displayed at the Sam Chao
Phraya National Museum.)