Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
History and museums
The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall (Thai: พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม Phra Thinang Anantasamakhom) is a royal reception hall within Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. It was commissioned by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1908. The building was completed in 1915, 5 years after Rama V's death in 1910. It now serves as a museum and is from time to time employed for certain state occasions.
The hall is open to the public every day except on Chulalongkorn Day (23 October), the King's birthday (5 December) and the Queen's birthday (12 August).
One year after the completion of the Amphorn Satharn Villa within the Dusit Palace in 1906, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) commissioned the construction of a reception hall to replace the one built during the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV.). The building in Italian Renaissance and neoclassical style was commissioned to the architects Mario Tamagno and Annibale Rigotti. Marble from Carrara, Italy and other foreign materials were used. Italian sculptor Vittorio Novi, who would later also work on the Mahadthai Udthit Bridge (สะพานมหาดไทยอุทิศ), was employed with his nephew Rudolfo Nolli.
It was used as the headquarters of the People's Party during the four days of the 1932 Revolution (June 24–27), which transformed the country's political system from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. The first National People's Assembly convened on June 28, 1932 in this throne hall. After that, it was used as the Parliament House until 1974 when the new Parliament House was opened to the north. However, the old Parliament House is still used for the State Opening of Parliament marking the first assembly in consequence of a general election for the House of Representatives.
The Throne Hall is a two storey construction with a large dome (49.5 m high) in the centre, surrounded by six smaller domes. The domes and walls are covered with paintings by Professor Galileo Chini and Carlo Riguli depicting the history of the Chakri Dynasty, from the first to the sixth reign.
In front of the Hall is the Royal Plaza with the equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
Fresco drawings in the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall were accomplished by Galileo Chini and Carlo Riguli, who were the royal artists serving King Rama V.
There are paintings on every ceiling and wall of the dome depicting the history of the Chakri Dynasty. The northern dome exhibits the picture of King Rama I leading his armies back to Thailand after defeating the Khmer and later crowned as the first king of the Chakri dynasty. The eastern dome shows the contribution of King Rama II and King Rama III to arts by ordering constructions of the royal temples. The southern dome displays King Rama V's abolition of slavery. Pictures of King Rama IV (King Mongkut) surrounded by priests of various faiths are shown on the western dome, depicting the king's advocacy of all religions. Mural paintings in the middle hall narrate the royal duties of King Rama V and King Rama VI. Other parts of the hall are decorated with King Rama V's and King Rama VI’s monograms, including a variety of royal emblems such as the Garuda emblem. On the balcony of the middle hall, art nouveau paintings are decorated on the walls with pictures of European women holding flower garlands.
As the Throne Hall is a royal premise, visitors to the Throne Hall should be aware that an appropriate dress is required for entry; this means sleeved shirts (including short-sleeved ones) and trousers for men or long skirts for women. Shorts, ripped jeans, short skirts and sleeveless shirts are prohibited. Women in long trousers are not considered suitable. If needed, appropriate attire (a sarong) can be purchased there. All cameras and mobile phones must be kept in provided lockers at no cost. There is an entry fee for the Throne Hall, even if you have already paid to enter the Dusit Gardens. A recorded guide is available in several languages.