Thai old-style architects influenced by Indian, Chinese and Khmer cultures have developed their own distinctive styles of soaring multitiered rooftops and towering spires straining towards the sky. Harmoniously combining two apparantly paradoxical elements, flamboyancy and serenity, the style perfectly mirrors the Thai soul. Traditional Thai architecture declined around 1900 when buildings were increasingly in Europeans styles. Most of the royal palaces in existence today date from the Bangkok period and are not more than 200 years old.
Thailand has a rich royal heritage spanning several centuries. Many royal palaces in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand offer a fascinating glimpse of the majesty and splendor of the Thai monarchy. In Thailand, several royal palaces are open to tourists. By far most important is the Grand Palace, which sits high above the city of Bangkok. Constructed in the 18th century during the reign of King Rama I, the palace is an outstanding example of the blending of classic Thai architecture with more modern Western styles. Although Bangkok's palaces are most important, by no means Bangkok has a monopoly. The Thai royals palaces of various types and styles are also spread in provinces.