The construction of monuments in the form of statues or symbolic figures in memory of important persons or historical incidents wasstarted during the reign of King Rama V when Thailand began to open to western influences.
The Statue of King Rama V, situated in front of Dusit Palace, was the first statue build for a Thai king. The statue was erected to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the coronation of King Rama V. The bronze statue was cast in Paris during King Rama V's second visit to Europe in 1907, and finished the following year. The King passed away on October 23, 1910, two years after the statue was erected. After his death, people continued to gather at the statue to pay homage to the king Rama V. Ceremonies to pay respect to the king are still held each year on October 23.
There are aslo monuments that have been raised to the other kings of the Chakri Dynasty.The statue of King Vajiravudh (King Rama VI) is located at Lumpini Park because he established the park during his reign.
The statue of King Rama I is located at the Memorial Bridge on the Chao Phraya River. The king was the founding monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, who established Bangkok as the capital city of Siam on the bank of the Chao Phraya.
There is also a Statue of King Taksin situated in Thonburi, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. King Taksin was the great warrior who defeated the Burmese after the fall of Ayutthaya, and founded the Thonburi period. Although this period lasted for only 15 years, King Taksin was considered a great king who helped the Thai kingdom rise from the ashes of the Burmese occupation. Every year on December 28, the anniversary of King Taksin's coronation day, Thai people pay homage to this king.
Apart from the statues of the great kings and important leaders in Thai history, monuments have been raised to commemorate important historical events. In Bangkok, the two most significant memorials are the Democracy Monument and the Victory Monument.
The Democracy Monument, located in a traffic roundabout on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, symbolizes the most important change in the Thai political system, from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy that took place on 24 June 1932.
The Victory Monument, also located within a traffic circle, was built to honor 59 Thais who sacrificed their lives during the conflict between Thailand and French Indochina in January 1939. The monument is decorated with five statues representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civilian war heroes whose names are engraved on a bronze plate attached to the monument.