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Lopburi (ThaiลพบุรีRTGSLop Buripronounced [lóp bū.rīː]) is the capital city of Lopburi Province in Thailand. It is about 150 kilometres (93 mi) northeast of Bangkok. As of 2006 it had a population of 26,500. The town (thesaban mueang) covers the whole tambon Tha Hin and parts of Thale Chup Son of Mueang Lopburi District, a total area of 6.85 km².


It was originally known as Lavo or Lavapura, meaning "city of Lava" in reference to the ancient South Asian city of Lavapuri (present-day LahorePakistan).[1]


Main article: History of Lopburi

The city has a history dating back to the Dvaravati period more than 1,000 years ago.[2]:302,308 According to the Northern Chronicles, it was founded by King Kalavarnadish (Thai, "Phraya Kalavarnadit"), who came from Taxila (Takkasila) in north-west India (now Pakistan) in 648 CE.[3] Lopburi, or Lavapura as it then was, was under the rule of the rising Angkor regime and became one of the most important centers in the Chao Phraya Basin from then on.[4] Epigraphic evidence indicates that the dominant population of the city was Mon.[5]

The earliest confirmed occurrence of the name Lavapura is on silver coins inscribed "lava" on the obverse and "pura" on the reverse in a Pallava-derived script of the seventh or eighth century; several such coins were recovered in 1966 from a hoard found in an ancient jar in U Thong.[6][7]

There is some evidence the Khmer Empire, under Suryavarman II, fought against the Mons in the 12th century over suzerainty. Lopburi sent embassies to China in 1115 and 1155.[8]:161

Lopburi (Lavo) is described in Book III of Marco Polo’s Travels, where it is called Locach. This came from the Chinese (Cantonese) pronunciation of Lavo, "Lo-huk".[9] The city is referred to as "Lo-ho" in chapter 20 of the History of Yuan (元史 : Yuán Shǐ), the official history of the Mongol, or Yuan Dynasty of China. Due to a scribal error in Book III of Marco Polo’s travels treating of the route southward from Champa, where the name Java was substituted for Champa as the point of departure, Java Minor was 1,300 miles to the south of Java Major, instead of from Champa, on or near an extension of the Terra Australis.[10] As explained by Sir Henry Yule, the editor of an English edition of Marco Polo's Travels: "Some geographers of the 16th century, following the old editions which carried the travellers south-east of Java to the land of Boeach (or Locac), introduced in their maps a continent in that situation".[11]

After the foundation of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 14th century, Lopburi was a stronghold of Ayutthaya's rulers. It became the capital of the kingdom during the reign of King Narai the Great in the mid-17th century and the king resided there about eight months a year.