PA THAN BRIDGE
Saphan Pa Than or the “Bridge of the Charcoal Market” is located on the city island
in Pratu Chai Sub-district, on the edge with Tambon Tha Wasukri. The structure can be
found on the crossing of Naresuan Rd (former Pa Than Rd or also Chao Phrom Rd)
and the Chikun Rd opposite
Wat Racha Burana.

The brick bridge was built over
Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak (also called Khlong Pratu Jin
in the southern stretch) which connected the old
Lopburi River (later Khlong Mueang or
City Canal) in the north (near
Wat Tha Sai) with the Chao Phraya River in the south at
Pratu Jin. This canal was filled in last century and as thus at present inexistent, with the
exception of a small stretch of water between Wat Tha Sai and
Wat Racha Praditsathan
- close to its former mouth, called Pratu Khao Pluak. Only some brick work of the
former bridges remain as a last witness of the past.

The location was once a princely battleground. It was here that the two elder sons of
King Intharacha (r.1409-1424), Ay Phraya and Yi Phraya fought for the throne of
Ayutthaya in 1424. Both were severely wounded and died from the combat. The
youngest brother, Chao Sam Phraya was then proclaimed King. He ordered
two chedis
built on the site where his brothers engaged in combat and these still can be seen west of
the bridge.

Yan (area) Pa Than was a morning and evening fresh market selling various kinds of fruit
such as oranges, bananas, sugarcane and other fresh food. The market was formed with
stalls, some permanent, or mats on the ground and was only functional in the morning
and evening. There were about 40 of these markets within and without the city walls. [1]

The foundations of the Pa Than Bridge (likely over-renovated) are still visible. The brick
bridge in European style can be taken as a model for all the other bridges in the city. It
was an arched construction with three sharply curved bows, the middle one higher and
wider than the two others, making it possible for boats to pass underneath. The
construction dates likely from King Narai’s reign (r. 1656-1688). Pa Than bridge stood
at a road crossing of two brick roads; one running north-south along the Khlong Pratu
Khao Pluak - Pratu Jin, the other one running east-west towards the Chao Phrom
market.

References:  

[1] Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - page 149,
273.
Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - October 2009