KHAO PLUAK FORTRESS
Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - November 2009
Pom Khao Pluak was a fortress standing at Pratu Khao Pluak or the Gate of
Unhusked Rice
, a water gate. The construction of the bastion was in the form of an
open book, located on both sides of the canal. This fortress was one of the many  
fortresses (1) of the city, of which
Pom Phet or the "Diamond Fort" in the Bang Kaja
area at the confluence of the Chao Phraya and
Pa Sak Rivers, was the largest and most
important one.

There were arched entry doors in the fortress wall permitting pedestrian access to the
city. Just behind the fortress stood
Wat Racha Praditsathan and Wat Tha Sai, located
respectively on the west and east bank of
Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak. A stretch of
water, what was once Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak, can be found on the premises of the
extended Wat Racha Praditsathan.

The crenulations on top of the fortress, providing cover for soldiers manning the wall,
are still present and probably designed by Father Tomaso Valguarnera, a Jesuit priest
from Sicily (2).
The city walls, built in the reign of King Narai (r. 1656-1688), were
only 1.5 meters wide and 6.5 meters high from ground level up to the crenulations. [2]
In front of the fortress near Wat Tha Sai was a ferry landing in connection with the
landing at
Wat Wong Khong.

Footnotes:

(1) Following the ancient sources there were either 12 or 16 fortresses (Khamhaikan
Chaw Krung Kao). Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright in Discovering Ayutthaya
(2007) write that there were altogether 22 forts along the city walls, but are probably
including the fortifications of the Grand Palace. This writer follows the Khamhaikan
Chaw Krung Kao and put their number at 16.
(2) Fr. Tomaso Valguarnera arrived from Macau in 1655 and remained in Siam for 15
years. Valguarnera was an architect and built the Jesuit residence and
San Paolo
Church within the Portuguese settlement. He rebuilt the city walls of Ayutthaya on
request of King Narai until 1670 were he was appointed Visitator of the Japanese and
Chinese Province and left Siam. He returned although to Siam in 1675 and again was
occupied with rebuilding the walls of Ayutthaya until his death in Ayutthaya in 1677. [1]

References:

[1] The Jesuits In Thailand - Part I (1607) - 1767 by Pietro Cerutti, S.J.
[2] Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - Toyota
Thailand Foundation - page 320/321.
(Pom Khao Pluak on the north side - east bank)
(Pom Khao Pluak on the south side - east bank)
(Pom Khao Pluak on the south side - east bank)
(Pom Khao Pluak on the south side - west bank)
(Pom Khao Pluak on the south side - west bank)
(Pom Khao Pluak on the south side - east bank)
(Pom Khao Pluak on the south side - west bank)