Lamphun in Northern Thailand was once surrounded by a defensive wall and a moat similar to the one which protected the old city of Chiang Mai.
Very little of the 2.75 kilometre wall surrounding the original city boundaries of Lamphun, previously known as Haripunchai, exists today. A section of the wall and one of the original gates, the Tha Nang Gate, has been reconstructed in the north east of the city.
About Lamphun City Walls and Moat
Lamphun is a city with a very long history, exactly how long is matter of some debate.
History of Lamphun
Some historians believe that the city was founded by the famous Queen Chammathewi, whose remains are believed to have been entombed at the Mon style chedi at Wat Chammathewi a short distance to the west of the old city. According to ancient historical accounts Queen Chammathewi was a princess in the neighbouring Kingdom of Lopburi who was invited to became the ruler of Lamphun at some point in the 7th Century.
Older than Chiang Mai
The layout of the city and its original defences, an earth bank and moat, were however more than likely to have been established prior to Queen Chammathewi becoming the ruler of the city. According to local legend the city of Lamphun was actually established by two hermits called Sukhanta and Wasuthep in the 6th Century which would make the city of Lamphun around 600 years older than the city of Chiang Mai, which was founded in 1296.
The earth banks surrounding Lamphun are believed by some historians to have been upgraded to brick walls in the 15th Century, however, this account makes little sense because the King of the neighbouring Lanna Kingdom, King Mangrai, had to use subterfuge to conquer the city of Lamphun in 1281 because the city’s defences were considered too good.
Conquered by Subterfuge
What King Mangrai did was to send a merchant to Lamphun to gain the trust of the King of Lamphun, become his most important adviser, and proceed to advise him so badly that his own people rebelled allowing the city to be easily invaded. King Mangrai had a relatively powerful army and the city walls and moat must have been very substantial by the end of the 13th Century for him not to simply attack the city and take it by force. More likely Lamphun’s city walls and moat were built by the middle of the 12th Century at the latest.
Location of the Tha Nang Gate
- The Tha Nang Gate is located 1.7 km by road from Lamphun Bus Terminal.