Having defeated Cambodia and united his country, king Rama I, as he would later be called, embarked on the building of an entire new city to serve as the capitol of the nation. And within the city he commissioned a monumental building to represent his new Chakri dynasty. Short on funds and on materials, the city buildings and palace alike would have to be made of wood, at least temporarily, but work went forward anyway.
On this day, May 6, in 1782 work began on the Grand Palace of of Bangkok. The king moved in a month later, and began ordering the replacing of wood with stone. He sent workers to the nearby former capitol city of Ayuttahaya, which was destroyed in the war, to retrieve bricks from the ruined buildings. Those would be used in the construction of the Palace.
Today, the palace covers an 218,000 sq. meter area, approximately equal to 53 acres – the same size as the White House grounds, including the north and south lawns. The nearly 250 year-old structure was almost ruined in 2011 when a massive storms cause the nearby river to overflow and flood parts of Bangkok. At the height of the flooding, the palace was ankle-deep in floodwater, but waters soon receded and no permanent damage was done.