From Ideology to The History
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“If we do not know our past, it is as if we are sailing without a compass.”
by Ms.Prapai Viriyaphant

The Ancient city is a city of the past. The time that has gone by. The time that has gone by will be followed by another period of time. It is only the matter of past and present. Like the Sun and the Moon, they take turn in giving us light, days, months, years. These phenomenon does not have a clear beginning for us to see, it is a cycle. Events that’s happened today all stem from what’s happened yesterday, all the changes that will happen tomorrow are all the seeds that we planted today. Therefore, the people in the present needs to know what’s happened in the past. Or else it would be like sailing without a compass, what could happen to the ship is uncertain.

For the harm is done by ignorance, and the lack of true knowledge. If you don't have the true knowledge but refuse to accept it, the result could be devastaing. Success and failure all came from this. To gain the true knowledge, it comes with a lot of hard work, you will have to face many obstacles. Today's world is smaller and more interconnected, one small event that happens somewhere can affect everywhere else on the earth. This is why I am worried that the new world will forget our old roots and tradition, while it embraces the Western values.

I believe that the moral in today's world is questionable, at the same time I accept the fact that the advancement in Science is unprecedented and is extremely valuable to humanity. However, in the East we believe that Science can educate people but it cannot uplift people's moral. It only drives people to materialism and worldly pleasure. Everything in the universe is born from the nature and balance.

The balance can be reached by civilization that is within the rule of law. The right time is what the nature needs at the time. If the Heaven wish for them to continue on, it will not allow for civilization to overrule other aspect of life. This is the balance of nature, with no ends to goodness. We can still see all the ancient civilization through all the arts and sculptures. These are what we inherited from our ancestors. Arts do not have the restrictions of Religion or time, only arts can transcend all differences. However, all these arts and culture that were left by our ancestors to us are now being neglected and destroyed, although they are valuable to humanity.

This is the reason why I wish to educate all people about our culture and traditions. I believe it could benefit the humanity, or just be some reminders for people who feel lost in today's society. This is the purpose of the Ancient City, the hope to fix all bad things that exist in today's society, but for it to be realized, who will answer my questions. It is impossible for one person to answer, it will take months, years, a century. Like the old saying if you want to build a mountain, one stone has the value in itself. In everything that we do, the path is set and someone has to take the first step.

If my belief is not in line with today's society, I hope that you will consider doing everything on the values of justice. Do try to find goodness in the things that we hate, find evil from what we love. Do this and find out the true values in the Thai Culture.

Do all this and leave the heaven to decide what will come.

Lek Viriyaphant
Ideology, Life, and Works

Mr. Lek Viriyaphant was born in 1914 into a Chinese businessman's family in Sampeng, Thailand. He was later sent to university in Shanghai, China. It was during this period that he got to travel and become interested in arts and cultures. He accumulated professional knowledge and understanding of arts, religions, philosophies and cultures since an early period of his life. Until when his father fell ill, he then came back to Thailand to help with the family business. Later, through work relationships he met his wife and lifelong friend Ms.Prapai Viriyaphant, who became a partner and inspiration throughout his business career.

His interests in the arts started from reading and collecting antiques when he was still a businessman, the more he understood how precious these antique pieces were, the more he felt a strong sense to preserve them. This inspired his to build the Ancient City, with the hope to bring all the great works in Thailand to showcase for people in the area to see and learn about.

The Dawn of Thoughts
by Mr.Lek Viriyaphant

Since ancient times, Thai culture has constantly grown prosperous. It would have been meaningful for our past and present if the cultural splendor, through our knowledge and wisdom, could last forever.

The question is, why has such precious culture been undermined?

Is it because of people’s oblivion of their national culture, or are there other significant factors hidden behind?

After thinking thoroughly about this matter, it is obvious that Thai cultural prosper has gradually been wilting away because our cultural essence has never been properly acknowledged among modern people through proper means. We never have a proper way to make modern people thoroughly understand their cultural essence.

With rare opportunities to learn about the long-inherited culture, how can people appreciate and acknowledge it?

Being aware of this, we must take action right away and exert all efforts to support our cultural mission.

However, as the cultural scope is expansive, being composed of varied aspects including philosophies, beliefs, literature, arts, history, people, ways of living etc., we, therefore, are obliged to continue our mission determinedly and confidently.

Lek-Praphai Viriyahphant

Founder of the Ancient City Group

Learning From The Past

Mr.Lek Viriyaphant had involved extensively in the process of building the Ancient City, he studied the details, the design, and the meaning behind each murals and arts that are in the Ancient City thoroughly.

Mr. Lek and his family travelled with scholars and advisors all around Thailand to collect data to build the Ancient City, for over 10 years they kept sketches, notes, and photographs of the sites to use as references for their works, allowing them to build the Ancient City methodically with real knowledge.

Through these endeavors they discovered many sites and antique pieces in bad conditions, this inspired the Ancient City to transform from a tourist attraction to a real museum, where many historical artefacts are collected here under preservation of knowledgeable staff.

Built from Historical Evidences

The important building in the Ancient City that ensure this is not just a theme park is the Royal Sanphachen Throne Hall, from the Ayutthaya Period. It is an archaeological site with extremely limited evidences and data to support what the throne hall actually looked like in the past.

Today, the only thing left are some ruins in Ayutthaya Province, therefore it is extremely difficult to recreate, since it requires a lot of research and detailed evidences. Through intensive works, Mr.Lek Viriyaphant along with a team of professionals, scholars, research archeologists successfully built the Royal Sanphachen Throne Hall with all family members support.

Later Royal Sanphachen Throne Hall in the Ancient City has been chosen by King Rama 9 of Thailand to be welcoming site for Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom during Her Majesty's royal visit in 1972.

Fine Arts

The construction of the Haw Phra Kaew and the Dusit Throne Hall is another challenge that Mr.Lek Viriyaphant overcame.

Haw Phra Kaew was built from the image carved on a scripture cabinet from the late Ayutthaya Period. The scripture cabinet is now stationed at the Prapas Museum. Mr Lek chartered craftsmen from Shanghai to build a real building from the image of this carving, it was an extremely difficult process to design the frame of the building. A lot of time was spent on this site, which now has the appearance of a tall Chinese-style building.

Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall was built at the Ancient City as a symbol of the Rattanakosin Period, the difficulties in building the Dusit Throne Hall, which is still around today, is the alterations of the interior throughout the period. The interior, such as wall paintings and patterns, along with the internal structure of the Throne Hall was done in a fashion that shows off the splendor of Thai arts and architectures.

The Architectures

The plot of land at the very end of the Ancient City is the newest addition to the Ancient City, acquired during Mr.Lek Viriyaphant later years in life.

It is the place that is built upon his own vision, the architectures mirror the religion beliefs and Eastern Philosophy, such as Mt.Sumane the Provice of Bodhisattva, Arhat Pavillion. These works are meant to be for educational purposes of Thai literature and religion.

These extraordinary works by Mr. Lek Viriyaphat : his ideology, his vision and imagination on the basis of traditional beliefs were brought to life for everyone to share here at the Ancient City.

The Philosophy

Until the end of his life, the founder of the Ancient City, Mr.Lek Viriyaphant, still kept his passion and love for arts and culture.
He carried on the works inside the Ancient City and the Sanctuary of Truth, a wood carving castle in Pattaya. He also founded the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan, and kept working on these magnificent cultural icons, until his passing on 17 November, 2000.

Keeping Thai Culture Alive

Lek Viriyaphant's previous work all speaks of his strong passion in keeping the Thai Culture alive, throughout his life, his principle was clearly seen. He wishes to preserve the Thai culture for future generations to see, going against the mainstream Western Culture. All his life works can be seen as a relentless effort to educate people about the authentic Thai way of life.

Even today after his passing, the Ancient City is still standing, carries on his wish to make the Ancient City a place for the future Thai generations to learn about themselves, to see and to be proud of their own culture.

The beginning of the building process
8 Pictures
His Majesty the King Rama 9 visiting the Ancient City
8 Pictures
Welcoming Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II
15 Pictures

The Image of the Past

The Ancient City is a setting where you can vividly see the Siamese's past. Here we would like to share the makings behind the the Ancient City itself. Where every ounce of hard work and dedication was put in to ensure that Thai Culture lives on .

Immerse yourself in the moment here with us.