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Memorial Bridge

Popular name for the Phra Phutta Yotfa Bridge (fig.), that connects Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district with the Thonburi side, across the Chao Phraya River (fig.). The bridge was inaugurated by King Prajadhipok in 1932, the year of the commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Chakri Dynasty (fig.), and hence named after Rama I, the founder of this dynasty, whose statue now stands in front of the bridge at the Phra Nakhon side of the river (fig.). Legend has it that before his execution, King Taksin cursed General Chakri (the later Rama I), saying that his power would come to an end if Thonburi, the ancient capital under Taksin, would ever be connected with Rattanakosin, the part of town where King Chakri established his government, i.e. present-day Phra Nakhon. When in 1932 the Memorial Bridge was built to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the Chakri dynasty, and thus connected both places, that very same year also the absolute monarchy came to an end, and many read in this a fulfillment of the curse of Taksin. The bridge is made of steel and concrete, and used to have a moving mechanism, which is nowadays in disuse. In Thai, the official name of the bridge is Sapaan Phra Phutta Yotfa (สะพานพระพุทธยอดฟ้า), but it is also referred to as Sapaan Pathom Borom-ma-raj-anuson (สะพานปฐมบรมราชานุสรณ์), meaning ‘First Great King Memorial Bridge’, a name derived from Phra Pathom Boromaha Kasatriyatiraat, a title usually given to any of the founding kings of a dynasty and meaning the First Great King [of the dynasty]. See MAP.