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"The most remarkable aspects of Bangkok are the royal palace and pagodas. The palace is an enclosure within high walls, the perimeter of which measures over a quarter of a league. All of the interior of this enclosure is paved in beautiful marble or granite slabs; on all sides there is a multitude of small, elegant structures adorned with paintings and gilding. In the middle of the courtyard is the Maha Prasat with its four facades covered in glazed tiles, decorated by magnificent sculptures and topped with gold. It is here that the king receives ambassadors; here, too, dead kings are placed in a golden urn for almost a year before being cremated. In the vast enclosure of the palace there is a tribunal, a theatre for plays, the royal library, immense arsenals, stables for the white elephants, stables for the prize horses and shops with all kinds of goods; a superb pagoda can also be seen here."

(Mgr Pallegoix, 1854)

Gate of the Great Pagoda of Wat-Chan in Bangkok in Le Tour du Monde, 1863 (© ANOM All rights reserved)