วันจันทร์ที่ 15 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2553
Tha Pae Gate, Chiang Mai's Downtown Pedestrian Walk
Tha Pae Gate in the square inside thecity's old moat in Chiang Mai's Mueang district is the only city gate right in the heart of the municipality. Known formerly as Chiang Ruak after the name of neighboring Chiang Ruak Village, the gate was built in the reign of Phya Mungrai the Great at the founding of Chiang Mai in
1296. The first restoration of Tha Pae Gate, based on historic and archaeological evidence, as seen in photographs that date as far back as 1876, resulted from joint efforts between the Municipality of Chiang Mai and the Department of Fine Arts.
Originally, Tha Pae Gate referred to two sets of gates. During the reign of King lntawitchayanont (1873), the actual Tha Pae Gate was known as Pratou Tha Pae Shun Nawk - the outer gate, and the Chiang Ruak Gate - the gate at the present site - Pratou tha Pae Shun Nai or the inner gate. The demolition of the outer gate leaves 'Pra Tou Tha Pae' the only remaining gate which has been so called since. This three-meter high landmark of red bricks is one of the five original city gates built around the old city, with an area right in their center dedicated to the Indakin City Pillar.
More than just a historical site, the area around the Tha Pae Gate is also a pedestrians' shopping zone with a weekend market where local .people go to shop for inexpensive goods. There is no charge for setting up stalls. So, each weekend, from late afternoon till early evening, vendors and students come to sell a wide variety of merchandises including handicrafts, apparels, utensils, ornaments, paintings and of course a wide variety of drinks, desserts and Thai food.It is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, ambling along the stalls just to 'window shop' or perhaps chance upon something interesting to buy. The mood is pleasant and sociable, with vendors and shoppers engaging in friendly bargaining. Visitors who have a few hours to spare on a weekend should check out this interesting weekend market at the Tha Pae Gate, and come away not only with good buys, but also with a glimpse of local lifestyle in Chiang Mai.