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Crack in the Wall: Chiang Mai’s Suan Dok Gate in Grave Danger – Can It Be Saved Before Collapse?

Chiang Mai Governor Nirat Pongsitthithavorn has recently issued a directive for the Muang Chiang Mai Municipality to collaborate with the 7th Fine Arts Office in expediting the restoration of the historic Suan Dok Gate. This urgency comes amid growing concerns from local residents that the compromised wall might crumble and fall onto the nearby road in Muang district’s tambon Sriphum.

A noticeable two-meter vertical crack has appeared on the north side of the gate, raising alarm among the community. The crack has widened to the extent where people can even see through it to the other side of the wall. Locals are now increasingly worried that the wall might collapse onto the adjacent road that runs alongside it, similar to the Chang Phuak Gate, which crumbled after heavy rainfall in September of the previous year.

Despite their concerns, Therdsak Yenjura, the director of the ancient ruins for the 7th Fine Arts Office, assures that his agency conducts regular inspections of ancient sites in Chiang Mai, and that the crack detected will not result in the wall collapsing. The crack was first discovered last year, and it was determined that it posed no immediate danger. According to Yenjura, the wall is held in place by a mound of earth, preventing it from collapsing.

Suan Dok Gate is one of the five ancient gates located in Chiang Mai, which were constructed during King Mengrai’s reign in 1296 AD. The other four are Chang Puak, Tha Phae, Chiang Mai, and Suan Prung Gates. These gates and walls underwent restoration in 1818 and were then registered as national historical sites in 1935.

With the joint efforts of the Muang Chiang Mai Municipality and the 7th Fine Arts Office, the restoration plan for Suan Dok Gate is now being fast-tracked. The focus is on preserving this significant historical landmark while ensuring the safety of the local community. Through expert assessment and well-executed restoration, both the rich history of Chiang Mai and the well-being of its residents will hopefully be safeguarded for generations to come.

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