One of Thailand’s oldest cities, Lop Buri was known as Lavo in the Dvaravati period and sub sequently became an important outpost of the Khmer Empire. The Khmer prang on the grounds of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, and those of Prang Sam Yot, date from this time. With the decline of the Khmer Empire and the rise of the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lop Buri struggled to retain its independence, until, in the 14th century, it was linked by marriage to the emerging state of Ayutthaya. It reached its political peak in the 17th century, when the Ayutthayan King Narai (1656–88) preferred to stay at Lop Buri rather than his official palace at Ayutthaya. Today, the thriving modern town of Lop Buri lies to the east of the old city.
King Narai’s Palace
Abandoned after Narai’s death, parts of the palace, including the Chanthara Phisan Hall, were later restored by King Mongkut
Somdej Phra Narai National Museum
This museum is housed in the partially restored, colonial-style Phiman Mongkut Hall of King Narai’s Palace. It has a superb collection of Lop Buri Buddha images, and collections of Dvaravati, Khmer, and Ayutthayan art.
Prang Sam Yot
The Lop Buri style was a variation by local artisans, of already established Khmer art and architecture; this shrine is archetypal. The three prangs were originally consecrated as a Hindu shrine; Buddha images were added later to two of them.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
This wat complex encloses ruins from two distinct eras. At its center is a 12th-century, Khmer prang, decorated with finely detailed stucco work. The site also includes Ayutthayan chedis and a wihan added by King Narai.