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Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna

Date de soumission : 09/02/2015
Critères: (i)(ii)(iii)(vi)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Thailand National Committee for World Heritage
Ref.: 6003

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The Founding of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was purposefully created by King Mangrai in AD.1296 to be the political, economic, social and cultural center of his newly expanded and integrated kingdom of the Tai people, called "Lanna Kingdom" (kingdom of a million rice fields). It was designed to be located in the landlocked heartland of Southeast Asia, north of modern-day Thailand.

By the 13th century, the earlier empires of Southeast Asia such as Dvaravadi, Champa, and Angkor, had declined or disintegrated. The Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty of China had begun to expand southward where some Buddhist states had become prosperous, as well as the various states and townships of the ethnic and linguistic Tai peoples which had established themselves independently or in clusters.

Mangrai, whose mother was a Tai Lue princess from Chiang Rung, SipsongPanna (now in Kunming, south China), was the 25th king of the Lawachakaraj(Lao Chok) dynasty. He had, since 1261, succeeded his father as Ruler of Ngeonyang located near Chiangsaen, and had rapidly consolidated his kingdom by unifying, through diplomacy as well as through military leadership, many of the Tai towns and other states in the region.
In 1292, after a long and cautious planning, he defeated, by ploys rather than force, the Mon kingdom of Haripunchai, a prosperous and ancient political center which included Lamphun and Lampang. Though he ruled from Lumphun only for 2 years, this civilized Mon kingdom, steeped in the Buddhist faith and rich in the Buddhist arts and architectural expressions, with a written code of legal system, seemed to have greatly inspired him in many ways.

Mangrai had frequently changed his capital before the founding of Chiang Mai, which literarily means "the new city". His previous administrative center had included Ngeonyang, Chiangrai, Fang, Lamphun, Chiang khong, Chiangtung or Kengtung (now in the Shan state, Myanmar), and finally Wiang Khumkham. Whenever he moved on to a new city, he appointed one of his sons and other trusted noblemen to rule the previous city for him.

By the time he discovered the site appropriate for Chiang Mai, he had already been living for 5 years at Wiang Khum Kham(see map below), a walled city he had built on the bank of the Ping River in the Chiang Mai valley, now an excavated and completely restored archaeological site located in Sarapee district, south of modern Chiang Mai.

Site Surveys and Selection of the "Chaiya Phum"

At age 57 and having been an energetic ruler for almost 40 years, Mangrai oftentravelled around in the vast valley region, accompanied by his troops and advisors, searching for a perfect location to build his permanent capital. Whenever he found an attractive and peaceful site, he would stop to sleep overnight to make further survey and to look for what he called "auspicious signs" and "good omens", according to traditional concepts and beliefs, and according to his policy.

One day in 1291, he came across an ideal location at the foothills of Doi Suthep which sloped down from the west to the great river basin in the east. In the middle of this vast open valley, there was idyllic and picturesque grassland where he sighted some rare species of animals unafraid of his troops, and found some unique auspicious plants, especially a giant fig tree.  He especially observed a crystal-clear waterfall, flowing from Doi Suthep into streams, surrounding the area; and on the eastern edge of this vast plain, there was a wide and long river called River Ping which meandered down from north to south.

This area had been inhabited for hundreds of years by many indigenous and ancient tribes, especially the people called " Lua" or " Lawa"who live at the foot of Doi Suthep they regarded as the sacred mountain of their ancestors' spirit as well as the abode of the revered and knowledgeable teacher, Sudeva.

Mangrai sought the advice of his noblemen and astrologists and they all agreed that everything they had seen at the site indicated a perpetual natural abundance and a sign of good omen for the founding of a "Chaiyanakorn" (a victorious city) in accordance with the ancient traditional beliefs. Convinced that this ravishingly bountiful location was exactly where his new city must be constructed, he moved in to occupy the site on Thursday 27 March 1292.

Then Mangraiinvited his 2 sworn brothers: king Ngarmmuang of Payoa and King Ruang (Ramkamhaeng) of the celebrated Sukhothai kingdom (a world heritage site since 1991) to visit the site and consulted them on the suitability of the location and the city plan. The two kings meticulously surveyed the area; they observed 7 signs of good omen especially the signs that indicated the abundance of water such as the waterfalls, the reservoir, the streams and the river, all of which they considered to be a boon to the city (Nakorn Kun). They fully concurred that the new city should be established on that site.

For Mangrai, and to a great extent, for the two invited kings, it was vitally important that this permanent capital of Lanna would effectively function as a powerful defense stronghold in the north, as well as a commanding political base which would exercise a strong influence and control over other Tai states in the area. Agriculture and trade for the prosperity of the population were also of serious consideration.

The three kings had, since 1287, made a pact of strategic alliance against the threat of invasion of foreign enemies, particularly the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty of China who in 1257 had taken control of Yunnan, capturing Chiangrung in Sipsong Panna, the hometown of Mangrai's mother. The historical allaince of the 3 kings was indeed unique and critically significant to the region at that time.(This act is immortalized by the 2.70m -tall bronze "Monument of the Three Kings" now standing in the central plaza of the renovated area of Chiang Mai). 

According to "Zinme Yazawin", written by Sithu Gamani Thingyam, (University of Yangon, 2003), there were 7 signs of good omens, described as follows:

“First, a white mouse- deer family came to the area, and were unafraid of men. Second, the family of red- fur mouse deer, with the white patch on the head and along the spine and white four legs, came down from the forest and chased away the soldiers. Third, Doi Suthep Mountain located to the west, was regarded sacred not only to the native Lawa, but also revered by the Mon as the abode of Haripunchai’s legendary creator, the Sacred Rushi named Sudeva; the mountain thus ensured spiritual stability and physical protection in the west. Fourth, the water, cascaded down from the top of mountain and flowing north into a stream, turned east and flowed along the south side of the Chaiya Phume area, then turned west to form a natural defense for the area.  Fifth, the topography was also of good omen as the land level was higher in the west and lower in the east. Sixth, the stream, flowing east, adjoined the Mae Ping River on the east of the auspicious area, and flowed along it, curving to the south.  The Mae Ping river was also a good omen as it flowed from the "Anotatt lake" (Sra Anodat) on another mountain range in Chiangdoa, and flowed constantly in the east of the city. Seventh, there was a large lake to the northeast of the auspicious area, a lake that was mentioned in the "treatise on Dreams" and in Brahmanic treatise on omens, as a pleasure place and a lake of ambrosia”.

In terms of agriculture and trading connection, the selected site which was open green fields were suitable for agriculture, especially wet rice cultivation. The wide, long Mae Ping River offered an excellent communication for trade and for the control of other states. Indeed, the site was easily connected to the ancient caravan routes where traders from India, Burma and Yunnan traveled with tea horses and cattle caravans through the many mountain trails and tracks.

The Construction of the Fortified City

The immediate concern of Chiang Mai was defense and durability of the city both in time of peace and war. The three kings therefore designed the city of Chiang Mai to be the competent and operative defense post of the region and this concern alone dictated that the fortified city could not be too large or too small; for in time of war the city would have enough men and elephants to defend all the posts and ramparts of the city. Taking this into consideration, Mangrai had to reduce the size of the city by half of what he had wanted.

The city plan was unique because Mangrai mixed the traditional Tai beliefs and the indigenous Lawa's knowledge and technology together, combining them with the Hindu Buddhist concept of cosmology possibly influenced by the King of Sukhothai. The fortified city was rectangular in shape, almost a square, and was to symbolize a human figure with the head, the back, the stomach, the hands and the feet. The form was to represent a human living in complete harmony with nature, to be connected with it, to profit from the natural setting but not to change or overpower it.

The city plan thus symbolized a peaceful and a prosperous person, lying with the back turned to the west towards the strong and stable mountain, safeguarded by its sacred spirits; while the stomach facing the river on the east, full and round and hanging down from the northeast to the south, like that of a pregnant woman, was doubly protected by the outer walls and moats.

The construction work of the new city did not begin until the 19 April 1269, about 6 years after the site had been chosen. Prior to the commencement of the construction, Mangrai made 3 sets of offerings. The first set was presented to the guarding spirits of the site, whereas the second set was offered to the spirits of the giant white rats, the unique species of animals which he had seen entering into the Banyan tree, and regarded as a good omen. The third set was divided into 5 parts which were given each to the spirits of all the 5 places where the city gates would be constructed.

A group of 50,000 men were recruited to construct the royal residence, the residence of the consorts, and the Throne Hall, as well as the storehouses and stables for elephants and horses which were used in times of warfare. Another group of 40,000 men were engaged to construct the city walls, observation towers, city gates, and city moats as well as the boat- sheds. The market of Chiang Mai was also opened at the same time in the central area of the city, called " Khuang Luang". Land use was planned following the natural topography of the area combined with the Lanna astrological beliefs.

After 4 months, the construction works were completed, and the three founders blessed the new city with a very auspicious name: " Noppa Buri Sri Nakorn Ping Chiang Mai", commonly called " Chiang Mai" until today.

Once again, the three kings performed a big offering ceremony. They had 6 sets of offerings prepared, and together they invoked all the heavenly spirits to come down and reside as the guarding angels at the six important stations considered as the most venerable spots: --- at the city's navel, and at the 5 city gates. After the ceremonies, according to the Chiang Mai Chronicle, a huge festival was hosted for 3 days and 3 nights with plenty of food and drinks for all the officers and the workers who had constructed the city.

The Significance of the Ceremonies and the Celebration

The ceremonies performed by Mangrai at the commencement and at the completion of the construction were important parts of the city foundation. The ceremonies were conducted in accordance with the traditions of the Tai Yuan people who were the majority of the population of the towns and states consolidated under Mangrai's Lanna Kingdom.

The Tai Yuan and most other Tai people believed in the heavenly beings and they also worshipped the ancestors' spirits called "Pi Pu Ya", as well as the spirits of the forest which they called "Pi Pa" worshiped also by the Lua or lawa people. The Tai additionally believed that in each village or in any fortified important place, there was a spiritual center, or a heart and soul, called "Jai Ban - Jai Muang"; but in the case of the center of the city, it was called "Sadue Muang" or the city's navel. Though the Tai in general embraced Buddhism as their religion and a way of life, they mostly maintained their traditional beliefs as well.

The Tai people had a high level of administrative organization system, and a rich material and architectural civilization. They were more refined in their cultural expressions and more advanced in the linguistic traditions than the native Lawa and Kha peoples who, in spite of living closer to nature, were not at all uncivilized, as they had their own knowledge and technology systems. The Tai Yuan were generally rice farmers (glutinous rice) and had knowledge of horticulture, language and literature, and arts and crafts.

The Tai in Lanna and other Tai groups in all the neighboring towns enjoyed for a long time, close ethnic relations and a bond of kinship; they also shared a common linguistic and literary heritage, oral as well as in written forms.

When Mangraiheld the ceremony to celebrate the completion of Chiang Mai, he significantly proclaimed the greatness of his new capital to other states and all the diverse sectors of his population. In the all the ceremonies, he showed great respect for the Tai and indigenous customs and beliefs, but also publicly demonstrated his devotion to Buddhism. According to an inscription (see photo) found at WatChiangman, Mangrai donated his temporary residence where he had lived and worked while planning and building the city to be the Temple named "Wat Chiang Man" meaning "the temple of the city's stability". His act of combining the traditions of the Tai, the Lua, and the Buddhist culture in this important public ceremony heralded a new cultural era of Lanna.

The Tai people had a high level of administrative organization system, and a rich material and architectural civilization. They were more refined in their cultural expressions and more advanced in the linguistic traditions than the native Lawa and Kha peoples who, in spite of living closer to nature, were not at all uncivilized, as they had their own knowledge and technology systems. The Tai Yuan were generally rice farmers (glutinous rice) and had knowledge of horticulture, language and literature, and arts and crafts.

The Tai people had a high level of administrative organization system, and a rich material and architectural civilization. They were more refined in their cultural expressions and more advanced in the linguistic traditions than the native Lawa and Kha peoples who, in spite of living closer to nature, were not at all uncivilized, as they had their own knowledge and technology systems. The Tai Yuan were generally rice farmers (glutinous rice) and had knowledge of horticulture, language and literature, and arts and crafts.

The Tai in Lanna and other Tai groups in all the neighboring towns enjoyed for a long time, close ethnic relations and a bond of kinship; they also shared a common linguistic and literary heritage, oral as well as in written forms.

When Mangrai held the ceremony to celebrate the completion of Chiang Mai, he significantly proclaimed the greatness of his new capital to other states and all the diverse sectors of his population. In the all the ceremonies, he showed great respect for the Tai and indigenous customs and beliefs. However, he also publicly demonstrated his devotion to Buddhism, for example, according to an inscription found at Wat Chiangman, Mangrai donated his temporary residence where he had lived and worked while planning and building the city to be the first temple within the city wall and named it "Wat Chiang Man" meaning "the temple of the city's stability". His act of combining the traditions of the Tai, the Lua, and the Buddhist culture in this important public ceremony heralded a new cultural era of Lanna.

Chiang Maiafter the Death of Mangrai

Mangrai ruled Lanna from Chiang Mai for 20 years until his unexpected death, hit by a thunderbolt at the exact central spot of his city and was believed to become a guarding angel of the city residing at this spot where now stands "the temple of the naval of the city" (Wat Sadue Muang).

Some versions of the Chiang Mai Chronicle, however, claimed that he became ill and moved to Wiang Kum Kam and died there. By the time of his death, Chiang Mai had already been widely accepted as the political and spiritual center of the Lanna region.

His descendants, though not always as strong, continued to rule Lanna for more than 200 years. Not all of them ruled from Chiang Mai, as some preferred to live in one of Mangrai's previous capitals.

Chiang Mai in the Golden Era

There were some greatly distinguished kings of the Mangrai dynasty, particularly the sixth king, Kuena (1355-1385) and the ninth King, Tilokraj (1441-1487) who developed the kingdom to its height of civilization. They built a great many Buddhist temples, stupas and other important public places with high technology in grand and glorious archaeological styles which were to be known later as the classic Lanna styles.

The Chiang Mai Chronicle praised Kuena as a ruler with " justice and deep faith in the teaching of Buddha who built temples and Chediya in great splendor... and who was deeply versed in the knowledge of various disciplines, such as: “Dharmasastra”, “Rajasastra”, History and the ten arts"...The splendidly gilded Stupa of Wat Pra That Doi Suthep was constructed on top of Doi Suthep by King Kuenato enshrine the Buddha's Sacred Relic presented to him from Sukhothai; this stupa and its temple compound has remained the spiritual symbol of Chiang Mai until today.

Decline and Fragmentation

Soon the Chiang Mai kings became entangled in a series of wars with Ayutthya and the Shan state, thus losing many of their able noblemen and their strong manpower. Chiang Mai subsequently became much weakened. It was finally taken under the control of Burma in 1558 by the expansive king, Bayinnaung, of the Toungoo dynasty. Chiang Mai remained under the Burmese administration for 200 years during which time it became impoverished and fractured, and its civilization stagnated and lay sadly dormant.

Between 1701 and 1733, the Burmese divided the Lanna Kingdom into East Lanna, centered at Chiangsaen, and West Lanna based at Chiang Mai.

In 1775, a group of Lanna princes based in Lampang rebelled against the Burmese and supported the Siamese military campaigns to drive away the Burmese from their territories. The Siamese had just lost their capital at Ayutthya to Burma in 1767, and immediately, the movements to reconsolidate the Siamese Kingdom had been vigorously launched by the King of Thonburi and the future Bangkok King. The military campaigns against the Burmese lasted almost 20 years and Chiang Mai, situated between Siam and Burma, was constantly on the front lines of the battlefields. While the princes and nobles had to fight in the battles, Chiang Mai's population fled to safer towns leaving the city of Chiang Mai practically deserted and almost in the state of disintegration. When the Burmese were finally driven away, Chiang Mai still had to revive its capital and regain the influence it previously had over the towns and states in the north.

The Rebirth of Lanna

By 1796, Prince Kawila( see photo), with the support from Bangkok, revived Chiang Mai so that it could serve as the center of Lanna. He mobilized the diverse groups of population from all the nearby villages and towns to resettle in Chiang Mai and restored and renovated the important buildings, especially all the important temples and places built in the Mangrai dynasty. He established the "Choa Chet Ton" (Seven Princes' Dynasty) to be the Lanna's new lineage for the righteous succession to the Chiang Mai throne. Though Chiang Mai was then, in status, a tributary kingdom of Bangkok, Kawila was well trusted and was able to govern his own kingdom quite freely.

Kawila also revived the ancient Lanna cultures and traditions, especially the Coronation Ceremony, and the traditional linguistic and literary traditions, as well as all the important Buddhist ceremonies performed in the Lanna styles. He promoted many lanna celebrations, Lanna music and dances, as well as craftsmanship.

King Kawila followed the ancient tradition by entering the city of Chiang Mai through the northern gate: the most auspicious "Gate of the Head of the City", (renamed "Chang Phuek Gate" (gate of the white elephant) since Kuena’s time.) He dressed in the full Lanna regalia as all kings of the Mangrai Dynasty had done in the past. His dynasty continually ruled Chiang Mai and Lanna for more than a hundred years with the blessing of Bangkok.

Interchanges with Other Cultures in the Modern Era

Chiang Mai under the early kings of Choa Chet Ton became alive and prosperous once again through trades and through its diverse creative energies, as testified by the new waves of artistic and architectural restoration and new creation. As it grew and greatly expanded; its prosperity, its natural abundance and its beautiful natural and cultural environments caught the interest of the foreigner powers which appeared on the regional scene at the time. The British and the French had already gained control of Chiang Mai's neighboring kingdoms in the north and the northeast, and began to extend their influences into Chiang Mai.

British rule in Burma began in 1824, and having subsequently won the Second Anglo-Burmese War, the British annexed Lower Burma in 1852. Siam also felt the pressure from the British and agreed to conclude in 1855 the Bowring Treaty between Great Britain and Siam. In 1874 and then in 1883, special treaties concerning northern cities of Siam were signed by Siam and the British government in India. A British Consul was appointed then to Chiang Mai, being the first diplomat in the North.

Chiang Mai, as Bangkok had led the way, began its new era of “open-door” and interchanges with foreign cultures, through the acceptance of modern sciences and medicine, western technology, and modern education. The city became home to a range of residential and professional communities which left a tangible mark upon the fabric and the architectural landscape of the city.

Following the overall national reform policy of Siam, the reform of provincial administration came as a necessity. In 1884 the Northern Region Administration was put in place by King Chulalongkorn who sent his brother, KrommoenPhichitpreechakorn to serve as the first special commissioner to the North, centered at Chiang Mai.

During the early reform period, Princess Dararassami(see photo) of Chiang Mai accepted the gifts of engagement from King Chulalongkorn, and soon after, she was given permission by her father, King Inthanon, to travel to Bangkok and become his royal consort, living in the Grand Palace.

As part of the reform policy and strategy, the communication system within the Siamese Kingdom was also improved. Traveling by boat and on elephants or horses was too slow and exhausting for administration and political purposes. In 1888, Bangkok established the first telegraph line with Chiang Mai. The northern railway was constructed and reached Phitsanulok in 1909, reaching Lampang and Chiang Mai in 1916 and 1919. Cars and buses were also introduced to Chiang Mai around the same time.

The reform of the Northern Administration continued until the advent of democracy in Siam in 1932. The monarchy in Chiang Mai ended then, replaced by a government appointed by the central Thai government.

Chiang Mai and the continued Lanna Civilization through the History

Because Chiang Mai has lived for 700 years, its civilization has, over the centuries, been developed, reached its peak, declined and revived in many successive eras. Chiang Mai's development however has never been in isolation, but has been tied to the events and developments of the Lanna’s history, the history of Siam or Thailand, and also the history of Asia and the world.

The numerous important historical and cultural monuments and sites of Chiang Mai which symbolize its identity and spirituality, including its cultural landscape, have naturally been subject to destruction and decay during the wars, and to necessary repair and modification after the wars, but the repair and modification were always carried out by the Lanna kings and communities, with the Lanna’s feeling and in the spirit of the Lanna cultures and traditions.

In modern era, technological and educational advancement particularly from the west have been accepted into the city as considered necessary at the time, and they contributed, to an important extent, to the survival and further prosperity of Chiang Mai and its population.

Today, Chiang Mai is a city very much alive and exuberant, with a population of more than 1,600,000 (on official count), of whom 172,000 live in Chiang Mai city. About 80% are locals by birth, speak the Lanna’s "kam muang" language, and practice the Lanna style of Buddhism.

The city has been expanding rapidly, bustling with all modern facilities - first class hotels and restaurants, theatres and cinemas, sports complexes and golf courses, shopping malls and supermarkets and open markets, hospitals and condominiums. Yet the city and its people are conscious of this historical and cultural uniqueness and are trying rather successfully to preserve and maintain the city’s historic quarters, buildings and spaces, and its natural setting.

After more than 700 years of growth and expansion, the physical and intangible evidences of the city as a masterpiece of the creative and visionary urban planning are still in evidence: the moats, the walls, the gates and the corners, the 40 ancient temples within the city walls, and hundreds more outside, together with the marketplaces, and the different communities of diverse ethnic groups and cultures.

In spite of rapid modern urbanization, the monuments, the sites and the cultural landscape of Chiang Mai, capital of Lanna which have been nominated under this nomination, all testify to the unique and creative genius in urban planning which enable it to endure and flourish until today. The interchanges of human values over the centuries and the long- lasting civilization of the multitude of populations who call themselves the Lanna people also continued throughout and are very much present today. The cultural landscape of the sacred Doi Suthep and its sloping plains as well as the Mae Ping River still provide tangible and spiritual significance to the city and people, and there are many festivals and traditions held annually in association with them.

Chiang Mai is today a seat of learning in many disciplines, and is home to five universities, Buddhist and Christian seminaries, technical colleges, four international English language schools and one German school, as well as a large university teaching hospital and several private ones, some with nursing schools. There are also many private language schools as well as the AUA, the British Council, Australian and New Zealand centers and the Alliance Francaise. Chiang Mai is also the home of many museums, galleries, archives and library, and of many heritage administrations located within the temples and communities.

There are many conservation groups in the Chiang Mai Communities; some of them are the elderly people, and many of them young students and active academics, who gather regularly at their community temples to do many kinds of social and cultural voluntary works and to organize traditional and religious events. These people form the core of the conservation group of the Chiang Mai, capital of Lanna.

With regards to the possibility of Chiang Mai being nominated as a world Heritage site, a number of consultations and hearings have been organized by the Chiang Mai University, with the participation of representatives from various occupations and age groups, including the abbots of all the temples in the Chiang Mai old town and the environs. The results have been positive and cooperation has been pledged. 

Description of the nominated property

Aserial nomination

This is a serial nomination comprising six (6) groups, or 6 series, of selected monuments, sites, and cultural landscape of Chiang Mai. They are nominated together in a single nomination to represent a set of interconnected thematic value or values proposed to be accepted.

The 6 series of properties are all functionally linked and coherently interrelated. They collectively form the wholeness of the tangible evidences, as well as the associated intangible traditions. Collectively, they define and display the outstanding universal values of Chiang Mai as the capital of Lanna, built in the 13th century but survived its long and sometimes turbulent history and sustained significantly, in tangible forms as well as intangibly, until today.

The list of the Nominated Properties

The nominated properties are grouped into 6 groups as follows

  1. Group 1: The cultural landcape of the old city of Chiang Mai.

The cultural landscape of old Chiang Mai are mixed between natural heritage and cultural heritage. Considered by the founder of Chiang Mai and his advisors to be the auspicious attributes to the ideal and victorious location according to the traditional beliefs and geomancy for city planning, and in accordance with the Lanna philosophy of "Chaiya Phum", today the cultural landscape of Chiang Mai is still of vital importance to the modern-day city, and generally embraced by the people as symbols of their spiritual identity.

The Chiang Mai cultural landscape is composed of:

1.1.Doi Suthep-Pui National Park

The Doi Suthep-Pui Park, highly rich in biodiversity, is located 16km.northwest of old city of Chiang Mai, and has been designated and protected as the Suthep-Pui National Park since 1973. It covers an area of 261 square km of mountain evergreen pine mixed with deciduous forests, and lower- leveled dry dipterocarps. At the highest peak, it is about 1,658m above the sea level. This mountain, which is a multi- peaks complex system forming an important part of the western mountainous ranges in northern Thailand, is worshipped by the indigenous Lawa people as the abode of their ancestors' spirits, long before the arrival of Mangrai.

The Suthep- Pui national park is home to a great biodiversity, with over 300 birds species, many of them rare and endemic, including Banded Kingfisher, Green Longtailed Broadbill, Silver Pheasant, Giant Nuthatch, Mrs. Hume's Pheasant, Spot- Breasted Parrotbill, and Red- faced Riocichla. There are 5 waterfalls in the forest area, more than 300 bird species and nearly 2000 species of ferns and flowering plants, and in the rainy season, butterflies bloom as abundantly as the flowers.

In 1997, a large scale deforestation was reported in the upper Mae Sa valley resulted in the loss of about 17% of the Suthep -Pui National Park area (Thailand Development Research Foundation 1997), causing drying up of the major streams that supplied water for drinking and agriculture purposes. Such a situation left the villagers with a strong sense of the link between deforestation and loss of livelihoods sources. Faced with acute water shortage, the villagers moved down from 1300 m to its present location at 1000 m elevation about 40 years back.

In order to reverse the negative impacts of forest destruction; the villagers also initiated community efforts to restore the degraded areas which were later supported by the technical inputs from the Forest Restoration Research Unit of Chiang Mai University Currently there are many scientific studies done and published on the biodiversity in the Park area, especially bird diversity, and reforestation of Suthep -Pui.

There are also are many living local traditions, such as the annual offerings presented to the “Pu Sae-Ya-Sae”, the ancestors spirits, and the Annual Tradition of walking up on foot to pay homage to the Buddha's Relic by the students of Chiang Mai University.

The Park includes some very important built properties which are also included in the nominated series of Group1. As follows

1.1.1. Wat Pra That Doi Suthep

The Temple of the Sacred Buddha's Relic Doi Suthep, situated at the top of one of the mountain peaks of Doi Suthep, and can be seen glittering in the sun on a fine day. It was originally built by King Kuena of the Mangrai Dynasty in 1419 AD to enshrine the Relic brought from Sukhothai by the learned great monk, Pra Sumana Thera.

There are many legends told and recorded about the history and development of the temple, especially about the selection of its special location. When Pra Sumana brought the Buddha's the Relic to Chiang Mai, there was only one Relic, and the King had planned to build a stupato enshrine at Wat Suan Dok just outside the Western Gate where the King 's Garden Palace was located,enclosed within the fortified walls. The Buddha's Relic then duplicated into two pieces. The King therefore kept one piece at Wat Suan Dok, very much associated with the King. The other piece therefore must be placed where the people in entire area could be associated with King Kuena placed the relic in a safe container and put it on the back of an elephant. Starting from the Gate of the Head of the City in the North, now called the Chang Puak Gate, the elephant was let loose, and it ran all the way up to the top of Doi Suthep where it moved around an area three times and collapsed on the spot. The King then decided that the spot was auspicious as the site for the Relic Stupa and its temple.

Wat Pra That Doi Suthep has been regarded,in the past as in the present, as the number one destination of Buddhist pilgrims from all area of Lanna. It has been expanded and further embellished by successive kings in the historic time, and the commoners made donation in whatever way they could as the Lanna people traditionally believed, and still do, that restoration and embellishment of the sacred temple would ensure the greatest merit not only for this life but also for the next life.

1.1.2. The Road.

The road from the foot of Doi Suthep leading to the temple of Pra That Doi Suthep is a very important historical monument because it was built in 1935 under the leadership of a Lanna born and locally revered monk named Kuba Si Vichai (born 1878).Kuba Si Vichai spent part of his life, travelling to all parts in the Lanna area and restored so many old and deteriorated Buddhist temples by successfully raising funds and labor from the local communities.

Because of his leadership and the inspirational nature of his personality, at least 5000 people from all walks of life and from all the villages in Lanna came daily with their own hand tools to volunteer to work in the construction of the road at Doi Suthep. The construction was symbolically launched by King Kaewnavarut, the ruler of Chiang Mai at that time, on 9 November,1934, at 10.00 a.m. at the foot of Doi Suthep near Huay Kaew. It was completed in 5 months and 22 days, and was opened for public use on 30 April 1935.

The road represents the Lanna villagers' strong devotion to the Buddha's Relic, as well as their powerful sense of community participation to the spiritual and intangible cause for merit-making. The road was complete so rapidly that the leadership of Chiang Mai administration at that time could not believe it could be done.

1.1.3. Wat Pa Lad.

Along the road leading to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, Ku Ba Si Vichai also designed and built a few temples where there were waterfalls and stone caves and rock slopes that the monks and villagers who came to work could use for resting. Wat Pha Lad is one of these temples that has been preserved as restored for contemporary use as a meditation center.

1.2) Chet Lin

This site, meaning 7 streams, is located at the foot of Doi Suthep only 5 km. from the Chiang Mai Old City, and was seen from an aerial photograph dated 1957 as a doubled walled circular area, with a diameter of 900 m. Its history and functions are still shrouded in mystery.

The area was surveyed by the Unit 6 of the Archaeological Office of the Fine Arts Department who identified it to be the fortified and moated township of the legendary Khun Wiranka, King of the Lawa who according to the chronicle, sent an envoy to ask for the hand of Queen Chamadevi of Haripunchai in the 8th century AD. When his proposition was rudely refused, he sent armies to wage war with the Kingdom and was humiliated and defeated by Chamadevi's 2 sons. The Township was later deserted and the fortified area was temporarily occupied by the Sukhothai armies during the war with King Samfangkaen(พ.ศ.1945 – 1985) of Chiang Mai.

Traces of ancient Buddhist temples were also identified as evidences of Chiang Mai's expansion into the outer area.

The site has been divided into 2 parts by a public road from the city leading up to Doi Suthep. The part on the west which catches and stores the water flowing heavily in the rainy season from Doi Suthep is now preserved as a natural reservoir with the original high embankment made of mounded earth. The reservoir has been protected on this side because it is connected with the compound of the Animal Husbandry Office of the Forestry Department and the Chiang Mai Zoo, but is open and easily accessed from the road. It is marked by a sign post on the roadside explaining its significance. The eastern side of Chet Lin is the larger area of the site and lies within the compound of the Rajamankla University, Chet Lin Campus. It has been seriously surveyed and studied by the university academics who found traces and remnants indicating ancient settlements dated perhaps to more than 5000 years. The project for its preservation and further research has been recently given government’s support.

1.3) Mae Ping River

This river has its origin at Chiangdoa, a part of Doi Intanon Mountain Range, protected by law as part of the Sri Lanna National Park and the Chiangdoa National Reserved Forest. The River, the largest in the region, runs along from North to south, forming a great river basin and plentiful area east of Chian Mai. Mae Ping River also served as the route of trade and communication between Chiang Mai and its controlled states in Lanna, as well as the outside world. 

Like most rivers in the world, Mae Ping now is being watched. It is being revitalized by the Upper Mae Ping Basin Management Project, undertaken by Wildlife Fund Thailand since 1997, and also joined by Mae Ping community network and Mae Ping Resuscitation Network involving more than 100 villages. In addition, an NGO group called "Love Mae Ping" was formed in 1992 (See Global Perspectives on Integrated Water Resources Management by Ganesh Pangare, VirajShah; and Rivers in Jeopardy and the Role of Civil Society in River Restoration: Thai Experience, by Wason Jompakdee, Chairman, The Coordinating Committee for the Protection of the Ping Rivers Basin and the Environment (CCPE), and Vice Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University).

1.4) Mae Kha

Mae Kha(see photo below) is a stream which runs from the north of the Chiang Mai old city and curves along the shape of the outer moat, forming an additional natural moat from the northeast to the southeast of the old city of Chiang Mai. Recently it has become badly polluted and the Chiang Mai community and the Municipality is trying to find the cause and solve the problem.

2. Group 2.: Historically Important Monuments, sites, and Landscape which form the Inner Fortification of the city of Chiang Mai, comprising the following:

2.1) The inner city walls on 4 sides, destroyed in certain parts, but restored in important sections and are in good restoration conditions. 

2.2) The inner moats on 4 sides, dug and cleaned regularly, now serve a new function as a city park and a city landscape. 

2.3) The 5 city gates,with the designated names, located on the 5 cardinal directions, restored in different historical periods, and last restored by the City Municipalities and the Fine Arts Department, based on archaeological studies and old photo.

a) Pratu Chang Puak (formerly Pratu Hua Kuang), in the north, considered the most important gate.
b) Pratu Suan Dok, in the west, which opened into the forested c) Pratu Tha Pae, in the east, which led to the river.
d) Pratu Tai Wiang, in the southeast, later renamed Pratu Chiang Mai,(see photo) which led to Wiang Kumkam and
e) Pratu Saen Pung in the southwest, also known as Pratu Haiya leading to the Haiya Cemetery

2.4) The 4 city corners (Jaeng) which form ramparts in the cardinal direction system, have historically designated names have been restored and now serve a contemporary function as the city’s landscape and park

a) Jaeng Sri Phum, in the northeast
b) Jaeng Katam, in the southwest
c) Jaeng Gu Huang in the southwest
d) Jaeng Huo Lin, in the nortwest

The fortification of the City of Chiang Mai was unique in the sense that it was not only physical and technical in nature, but also spiritual. The core concept of the fortification of Chiang Mai signified the boundary of the Auspicious City (Sri Nakorn), whose fortified rectangular area, as well as the five gates, and the central spot or the naval, were believed to be blessed and protected by all of the sacred beings, petitioned through the offering ceremonies made by Mangrai himself before the commencement of the City's construction as well as at the completion of the construction. In Modern times, offering ceremonies to the guardian spirits of the city and all the inner gates are still regularly held by the Governor and the municipality chief as well as the people of Chiang Mai.

Dated back to Mangrai period, the original city moats, walls and gates were periodically cleaned and repaired as deemed necessary by successive kings of the Mangrai Dynasty. After the prolonged wars with Burma, the fortification of the city was completely overhauled by King Kawila of the Choa Chet Ton Dynasty, as the threats of war still continued.

The monuments and sites listed above collectively represent the physical boundary for defensive purpose and for the demarcation of the center of administration and political power, distinct and separate from the surrounding areas. They were restored most recently in 1985-86 by the Chiang Mai Municipality and the Fine Arts Department.

3 Group 3: Important Monuments, Sites and Landscape which form the Outer Fortification

The outer city walls and the outer moats of Chiang Mai do not follow the plan and the lines of the inner fortification. They are constructed in an oblong shape that begins at the northeastern corner of the City, called "Jaeng Sri Phum" and extends out along the eastern front of the city, like a full stomach or the tummy of a pregnant woman, hanging down to the south, curving around it to reach the southwest corner of the city called "Jaeng Ku Huang". They are listed for the nomination as follows:

3.1) The Outer Walls which are now called “Kampaeng Din” located on the eastern and southern sides

3.2) The 4 Outer City Gates which are located along the curves of the Outer walls, with designated names. 

3.3) The Outer Moats curving along the outer city walls

4. Group 4: The important monuments and sites within the city walls 

Important monuments selected under this group mostly dated back to the MangraiDynasty. Although suffered from rapid urbanization, change of land ownership, and encroachment of new buildings, all the monuments and sites within the city walls have been relatively well preserved and maintained. Restoration was deemed by the kings of Chiang Mai and the communityas necessary, as most of them are Buddhist temples,to which donations for the repair and maintenances are given by the devotees because they do not want to see Buddhist temples in the state of decay and depreciation. Restoration of historically and archaeologically important monuments in modern days is designed and supervised by the Fine Arts Department, but often the community participation is allowed and welcomed.

The monuments and sites selected under this group are representatives of the primary evidences of the historical development of Chiang Mai. They were built by Mangrai and his descendants and bear testimony to the unique Lanna school of Buddhist architecture and art that continue to flourish until the present. They are listed in 5 subgroups following the 4 cardinal directions plus the concept of the naval of the city, as follows:

4.1. Monuments in Northern Direction: 6 monuments.

(1) Wat Chiangman, the first temple built in Mangrai's reign, 1296. (There is an inscription that describes important events in Mangrai's time). 

(2) Wat Hua Kuang-Saen Muangmas, built by King Muang Kaew, 1521. (3.) Wat Moh Kam Duang, built by Tilokaraj, 1476.

(4) Wat Kuan Ka Ma, King Yod Chiangrai, 1492.

(5) Kum Bureerat, Palace of King Kaew Mun Muang. (6) Wat Chang Lam, built by Mangrai, no date.

4.2. Monuments in Central Area: 7monuments

(1) Wat Chedi Luang, built by King Saen Muang Ma, 1411

(2) Wat Intakhin or Wat Sadue Muang

(3) Wat Pan Toa 

(4) Wat Duang Dee, built by King Muang Kaew, 1496.( mentioned in the inscription)

(5) Wat Chai Pra Kiat, built by King Muang Kaew, 1517.

(6) Kuang Luang Central area and the marketplace, built by King Mangrai, 1296.

(7) Wat Pra Choa Mangrai, built by King Mangrai, 1296, standing Buddha image cast by Mangrai

4.3. Monuments in Western Direction: 7 monuments

(1) Wat Pra Singh. (wat Lee Chiang), built by King Phayu, 1345-1355. 

(2) Wat Prasat, built by King Yod Chiangrai, 1492 (3) Wat See Kerd, built by King Muang Kaew, 1517 (4) Wat Tung Yu, built by King Muang Kaew, 1517 (5) WatPha Pong, built King Yod Chiangrai, 1492

(6) Wat Muen NgernKong, built by King Kuena, 1339-1337

(7) Wat Tang Man

4.4. Monuments in the Southern Direction: 10 monuments

(1) Wat Puak Hongs, built King Muang Kaew, 1517 

(2)Wat Puak Taem, built King Muang Kaew, 1517, Burmese and Mon influence, local metal and gold artisans. 

(3) Suan Buak Hard

(4) Wat Pan Waen, (5) Wat Chet Lin

(6) Wat Fon Soy, built by King Yod Chiangrai, 1488

(7) Wat Muen Toom, (8) Wat Chang Taem

(9) Wat Sai Mun Muang (Thai)

(10) Wat Sai Mun Muang (Burmese)

4.5.Monuments in the Eastern Direction: 10 monuments

(1) Wat Muen Lan

(2) Wat Muen Toom

(3) Wat Dok Kam 

(4) Wat Dok Uang

(5) Wat Pan Un

(6) Wat Pha Khoa

(7) Wat Sampoa 

(8) Wat Ban Ping

(9) Wat Umong Then Chan

(10) Wat Pon Soy

5. Group 5: Important Historical Monuments and Sites Outside the Inner Fortification

The monuments and sites located outside the inner fortification are also historically and culturally important. They represented primary evidences of the Chiang Mai 's development in Buddhist arts and architectures.

They are listed in 2 subgroups: 5.A representing the monuments located within the Chiang Mai city environs in the 4 cardinal directions; 5.B representing the monuments in the outer district in the Southern outskirt of Chiang Mai.

5.A. Monuments and sites in the Chiang Mai Environs

5.A.1. Northern Side: 6 monuments

1) Wat Lok Molee

2) Wat Jed Yod, build by King Tilokaraj northwestern side)

3) Wat Chiang Yeun.

4) Wat Pa Ket

5) Wat Ku Toa, 

6) Wat Chiang Som

7) Wat Pha Khoa

5.A.2. Western Side: 5 monuments

1) Wat Suan Dok 

2) Wat Umong

3) Wat Pa Daeng

5.A.3.  Southern and Southwestern Side: 8 monuments

1) Wat Pa Jee

2) Wat Pong Noi

3) Wat Ta Kham

4) Wat Ram Poeng

5) Wat Phra That Doi Kam (see photo)

6) Wat Ton Kwen (see photo)

7) Wat Nantharam

8) Wat Chiang Khong

5.A.4.  Eastern Side: 6 monuments

1) Wat Bupha Ram

2) Wat Ket Karam

3) The Nawarat Bridge

4) The Warorot Market

5) Ton Lamyai Market

6) TheChiang Mai Railway Station

5.B. Monuments and sites in the outer area of Chiang Mai

5.B.1.Wiang Kum Kam

This important archaeological site is, according to the Chiang Mai Chronicle, the former Capital of Mangrai, located in Saraphi District, South of Chiang Mai. Inundated by the floods and deserted for many centuries, Wiang Kumkam has been excavated and restored and is presently being revived as an archaeological and a historical Park. Its important monuments and sites are listed as follows.

1) Wat Chedi Liam 

2)Wat Phra Chao Ong Dam-Phaya Mangrai:

3) Wat ThatKhoa

4) Wat pupia

5) Wat Sri Bun Ruang

6) Wat Soa Hin

7) Wat Ku Ay Larn

8 Wat Ku Makrua

9) Wat Chok Bok

10) Wat Bot.

11) Wat Kan Tom (Chang Kam)

12) Wat E Khang

13) Wat Kum Kam

14) Wat Noi

15) Wat Kan Thom.

16) Wat Hua Nong.

17) Wat Mai Sang

18) Wat Kua Nong.

19) Wat Nong Phung.

20) Wat Pan Soa.

21) Wat Pra Ut.

22) Wat Bo Nam Thip

5.B.2. The old road from Lampun to Wiang Kum Kam. (See photo)

The road is 10 km long and is lined with majestic Dipterocarpus alatus trees planted when the road was constructed 100 years ago. There used to be as many as 5000 trees on both sides. During the past 2-3 decades, urbanization and growth in the area have resulted in the loss of so many of these trees, cut down to make way for intersections and modern housing. However, the conservation group of Chiang Mai and Lamphun has so far successfully campaigned for the preservation of this historic road and the trees.

6.Group 6. Monuments and Sites of Modern Era. This group of monuments represent the important human interchanges in the modern era, comprising the following :

1) The First Christian Mission in Chiang Mai

2) The first school building of the Prince Royal College

3) The first school building of Dara College

4) The first hospital building of the McCormic Hospital

5) The first Chinese community temple

6) The first Sikh temple

7) The first Muslim community and mosque

2. The criteria to be met:

As indicated above, the criteria to be met for this serial nomination are: Criteria: 1,2, 3,and 6. The reasons are: that the monuments, sites and the cultural landscape nominated collectively form important attributes to the universal values based on criteria 1, 2, 3, and 6, (with the cultural landscape as part of the criteria), as described in the description of the nominated properties.

3. Protection under national laws.

All the nominated properties have been studied, preserved and/or conserved, And have been registered as nationally important to be protected by laws. Important protection laws relevant to the nominated properties are:

a) The Suthep Pui National Park registered and protected under the laws of ministry of Environment,
b) The archaeological monuments and sites are protected as archeological property under National Act for the protection of ancient monuments, ancient objects, art objects, and national museums, 2535.
c) Chiang Mai Municipality's Law concerning the type, style, distance, and height of buildings and the prohibited area of construction, demolition, adaptation, or transporting of certain types of buildings in the Municipality area of Chiang Mai, ..)

(See also Kana Kammakarn Chamra PrawattisatThai Lae Chad Pim Ekasarn Tang PrawattisatLae Borankadee, Muang Lae Lang Cumchon Boran Lanna, in Thai, BE 2539); Krom Silapakorn, Karn Kun Tabien Borannasathan Kong Pak Nua, in Thai, BE 2525; 3. Elliott and Cubit, the National Parks of Thailand 2001.)

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

The nominated properties, presented in 6 groups under the serial nomination, as described in the description of the nominated properties, are the tangible evidences which collectively exhibit theoutstanding universal values of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna, based on the following

Criterion (i): Chiang Mai, the capital of Lanna, represents a masterpiece of human creative genius in the field of urban planning. It exhibits the essence of the traditional Tai people’s social, cultural, and spiritual values of living in harmony with nature respecting its invisible power of the mountains, the valleys, and the rivers. It also exhibits the founders' intelligence in harmoniously taking advantage of its protection and abundance in a sustainable way so that the city can thrive until today.

Chiang Mai city was designed to serve a multiple set of specific purposes, as follows:

a) Defense;
b) Central administration to control and oversee the large number of states that were previously independent and, some of them rather distant, united under the suzerainty of his kingdom;

c) Connectivity with nature and benefiting from the surrounding natural landscape;
d) Prosperity through wet rice cultivation and production;
e) Prosperity through trades, both via the ancient routes of transporting goods by tea- horse and ox cart caravans, connecting with the silk route in China, India and other areas, as well as through the river borne trading system using boats of all sizes and linking with other river- based;
f) Development of a new Lanna civilization through tangible and intangible cultural expressions and exchanges with the rich diversity of population in the Chiang Mai valley and in the entire Lanna.

The design of the city plan is uniquely ingenious. The city is in the form of a human body, framed by the inner fortification which is now seen in the shape of a square (a rectangular originally).The outer fortification in the east and south is in an oblong shape symbolizing the human stomach. The city thus has the head, the hands, the feet, the back, the stomach, as well as the navel. The navel located in the central part of the city is where the soul or the spirit of the city resides.

The city plans takes into account the cardinal directions, calculated according to the knowledge of astrology and in accordance with the exact planned hour, date, month, and year, designated as the auspicious time of the "birth" of the city to ensure the success and victory of the city foundation. Each direction of Chiang Mai City is, according to some scholastic studies, designated with the “Taksa” calculated according to the astrological theories, and important temples are planned and constructed in accordance with the Taksa. (see the chart showing the cardinal directions and temples of Chiang Mai, studied and interpreted by Surasawadi Ongsakul and team).

The concept of the city plan representing the anatomy of the human being, which in the Tai beliefs, has a hierarchy, thus cleverly and logically determines the land use and the zoning, both within the city walls and immediately outside the city proper. Land use in and outside the walled city of Chiang Mai is also creative and visionary, as it takes advantage of the topography of the area, combined with the traditional knowledge and the local beliefs which in those days were widely accepted and thus avoiding the land use conflicts among the various groups of the population.

Criterion (iii): The nominated serial properties collectively bear an exceptional testimony to a civilization that is still living and is known until today as the "Lanna civilization".

This civilization emerged in the 13th century with the independent establishment of the various Tai ethnic and linguistic kingdoms and townships in the northern region of Thailand and their subsequent consolidation and unification under the suzerainty of the Lanna kingdom led by King Mangrai.

The Lanna civilization manifests itself in various forms, layers and dimensions. It may be considered as being largely a Buddhist civilization, with over 300 Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai alone, but it also contains many significant elements of nature worships and spirit worships. It encompasses various traditions and cultures of many ethnic peoples who inhabit the region. In all consideration, connectivity with nature and living in harmony with all the natural and supernatural elements lie at the very core of Lanna civilization.

At the time of its height, Lanna civilization is represented not only by the religious arts and architecture, but also the sophisticated system of knowledge in natural sciences and medicine, and various fields of technology, especially the metal and gold technology used for architectural adornment called " Thong Jung Go" (see photo), the textile arts and crafts of the various ethnic peoples, wood and bamboo technology, law, as well as language and literature.

Lanna civilization developed and prospered in many stages in different historical periods. From its defining and rising era of Mangrai, the Lanna culture and technology combined the traditions and beliefs of the indigenous Lua or Lawa, with those of the diverse Tai groups, and also added some of the elements of the Mon civilization of Hariphunchai and the civilization of Sukhothai. The Lanna civilization encompassed the knowledge systems in various fields of tangible and intangible culture, practiced widely by the royalty and noblemen, monks and learned scholars, and well community leaders and community members.

The various aspects of cultures and traditions of Lanna were transmitted over many successive generations among various levels of communities within the geographical region known as the "Lanna Region" and were further developed until they reached their peak during the era known as the "golden age of Lanna". By that time, this civilization in its various elements, aspects and dimensions, had extended their influences over a greater area of Lanna region.

The Lanna civilization weakened, later stagnated, and declined for 200 years during the Burmese occupation and during the wars to drive them away. This period was followed by a dormant and fragmentation period when the population dispersed and migrated to escape the wars.

The civilization was revived by King Kawila of Choa Chet Ton House who reestablished Chiang Mai as the center of Lanna, mobilized peoples from various ethnic groups and tribes to live together in the old city area and the environs, and gradually regained its former influences over the neighboring states.

Today, Lanna civilization is still a living civilization.  It has been remarkably thriving in the modern era. Though the Lanna dynasty as the center of the ruling system has ceased to exist since the advent of democracy and constitutional monarchy in Siam or Thailand in 1932, yet the cultures, traditions and the lifestyles of Lanna still continued to be safeguarded and practiced by the communities and families both at the regional, local and village levels.

At present, Lanna civilization seemed to have suffered a setback from rapid and uncontrolled urbanization, encroachment by modern built structures, the deforestation and disconnectedness with nature, and the changing natural and cultural landscape of the old city of Chiang Mai and its environs.Recent emigrants and the increased number of tourists who invaded the city area and the cultural zones of Chiang Mai have also caused serious concern regarding the “carrying capacity” of Chiang Mai. In the face of this rapid globalization, however, there are many conservation efforts spearheaded by many small groups of people, young and old.Many of these groups are temple-based or community-based, such as "Wat Ket Museum Community" and "Wat Prathat Doi Saket Cultural Community", who are working rather quietly to maintain local museums, supporting community networks, and volunteering to organize cultural and religious festivals and creative events.

Chiang Mai has been the seat of learning in various fields from the ancient time. Today, schools and colleges are teaching local language and literature, Lanna music and dance, and other arts and crafts as part of the 30 percent local curriculum allowed by the ministry of culture, or as extracurricular activities and according to the interests of the learners. Many academics and university scholars have also conducted research, helped repair and restore art treasures in the temples, and published their work about many aspects of Chiang Mai and Lanna heritage, tangible and intangible. In addition, a number of the local and NGOs, such as the " Love Chiang Mai Group" and Love Mae Ping Group" have been active and vocal about many conservation programs and in safeguarding cultural heritage.

Public social education and cultural exchanges have recently been promoted by the local municipalities, temples, schools, and communities. Walking streets, handicrafts bazaars, art galleries, which exhibit various elements of Lanna civilization, have become very fashionable and popular spaces for the various ethnic cultures and for international interchanges.

Criterion (ii): The nominated serial properties collectively exhibit an important interchange of human values, over different periods covering a span of more than 700 years, within a particular cultural area known, since the 12-13th century, as Lanna region.

These interchanges of values are also extended to interchanging with the peoples and communities in the areas outside of Lanna, through migrations, trades, wars, and diplomacy, located in a particular area in Southeast Asia. The interchanges of values, made since ancient times through blood relations and kinship, linguistic roots, common oral and written traditions, political alliances, marriages, wars, and trades, also continued in similar ways in modern times while many new forms of interchanges also occurred.

The interchanges of values throughout the pre- modern history started with the mixing and combining the diverse elements of pluralism in cultures and traditions of Tai states and the indigenous groups. Later, the interchanges are significantly manifested in the numerous forms and styles of architecture and arts, particularly the splendidly glorious Lanna style Buddhist arts and architecture, with evidences and traces of influences from the Mon civilization of Haripunchai, the Sukhothai civilization which in turn received influences from The Lankan (Sri Lanka) school of Buddhism, the Burmese Buddhist architecture and arts, as well as the arts and architecture of the small Tai townships in the area, such as Chiangsaen, Chiangrai, Chiangtung.

The innumerable ancient Buddhist monuments of Chiang Mai, 37 temples within the fortified city, were built in different periods, and exhibit differentiated technical and artistic styles. They were to a large extent preserved and renovated by various Kings from the Mangrai dynasty and throughout the rebirth periods under Kawila and Choa Chet Ton Dynasty.

In modern period, especially in the reform period initiated by King Chulalongkorn of Bangkok, the city of Chiang Mai opened up to modernization, technological development, global trades and industry which led to many changes in the housing styles, modes of life, and dynamic urbanization. Cultural and religious diversity also took on another dimension with the 1878 Edict of Religious Toleration proclaimed by King Chulalongkorn paving the way to the migrations and settlements of the Chinese Muslim merchants from Yunnan, the Christian missionaries, and the Muslim communities from Pakistan and Bangladesh whose heritages have been preserved within their respective communities and now recognized as being part of the Chiang Mai’s overall heritage.

The Christian missionaries

Dr McGilvary and his wife were the first missionaries to arrive in Chiang Mai on a steamboat from Bangkok obtained an audience with Choa Kawilorot of Chiang Mai and soon were allowed to settle at a site given to them by the Kawilorot family which is today the location of Chiang Mai First Church. (See photos). They started dispensing medications, introducing quinine and vaccination against smallpox.

They were followed by other Presbyterian missionaries many of whom medical doctors. In the 1880’s, McCormick hospital was founded as a dispensary center providing medicines to the elderly with a small number of beds. In 1920, new buildings were built at the present location with funds donated by Mrs. Cyrus McCormick. Here, Prince Mahidol, the Father of the present King Bhumibol and the Father of Thai modern medicine, came to work as a residency physician, until he became ill and passed away untimely in Bangkok.

On March 19, 1887, "Chiang Mai Boys’ School”, the first boys’ school in Northern Thailand was founded and soon outgrew its facilities. Funds were raised internationally to purchase the land and to construct the school buildings. On January 2, 1906, His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Maha Vajiravudh, Son of King Chulalongkorn, came to lay the cornerstone for the first building. The school was then renamed The Prince Royal’s College. In 1878, the first school for girl was established and later renamed "Phra Racha Chaya Girls' School" ( after Phra Racha Chaya, Princess Dara Rasmi, King Chulalongkorn's Chiang Mai- born consort ), now known as "Dara Academy".

The Muslim community

During the course of the 19th century, Chiang Mai saw many waves of migration of the Bengali from India via Burma, the Hui Muslim refugees from Yunan, China known locally as "Chin-Haw", and resettlement of the Malay Muslim from the South.

The Muslim population of Chiang Mai, though not very large, is diverse and identifiable by their mosques, halal restaurants, and the people's styles of clothing. Two of these areas (Chang Pheuak and South Changklan) are predominantly Bengali, or South Asian in character. Cattle traders operating out of Moulmein had originally migrated to Burma from the Chittagong area of Bangladesh, and are first reported to have settled in Chiang Mai as early as 1830.

The two others (Baan Haw and Sanphakoi) are predominantly Yunnanese, known locally as "Chin-Haw", and settled in and around upper Changklan Road in an area still known as "Ban Haw". The Haw caravans coming to Thailand from Yunnan increased in number in the 19th century as recorded by Western travelers and missionaries who were also moving around the region during that time. In the latter half of the twentieth century, many Yunnanese Muslims fled to Chiang Mai and other nearby towns from China via Myanmar to escape the political turmoil, war and civil war and the community of the Baan Ho mosque increased rapidly.

The three groups mixed and intermarried with one another as well as with the local Thai community resulting in their adoption to a good extent of the Lanna Thai language and non religious cultural traditions. The Baan Haw mosque and market space, and the Chang Klan Muslim quarters are the oldest Muslim communities which not only offer glimpses into the Muslim ways of life but also cater Muslim food of a great variety.

The Chinese Community

The Chinese non muslim communities probably first came to settle in Chiang Mai during the Ayutthya period and increasingly in the Thonburi and early Bangkok periods. During King Chulalongkorn's reign, a new flux of Chinese migrants came. Some members of the Chinese emigrants soon played important role in trading and tax collection for the King of Chiang Mai and were granted land rights near the market resulting in the emergence of new architectural and artistic styles in some areas of the city. "Pung Tao Gong Ancestral Temple" is Chiang Mai's oldest Chinese temple. The original main building, built in 1876 in King Chulalongkorn's time, was badly deteriorated and was recently reconstructed with the funds donated by the Chinese community to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Chiang Mai as a city in 1998.

Criterion (vi): The monuments and sites selected for the serial nomination are also tangibly associated with many ceremonies, celebrations, festivals and other traditions organized by temples and communities on a regular basis.

Many of the ceremonies and celebrations are Buddhist traditions which have been practiced for more than 2000 years by the Buddhist communities all over the world and therefore testify to their outstanding universal values.

Many of them however are traditional Lanna events rooted in the sense of humility in the face of the unseen power and force of nature, as well as the beliefs in the world after death. These beliefs are unique but also universal, and are held on a monthly basis all year round, for example:

1. Ceremony of the 7th month (April). This is the New Year Festival according to the Lunar Calendar and is celebrated at home, in the family, as well as at the temple and the community.

2. Ceremony of the 8th month (May). This is the time for ordination of monks and paying homage to the Sacred Buddha's Relic as well as giving offering to the guardian spirits of the city to extend the days of prosperity.

3. Ceremony of the 9th month (June) to give offerings to the ancestors (on the mother's side), clean the streams and rivers, and prepare for paddy cultivation.

4. Ceremony of the 10th month (July) to mark the beginning of the Buddhist Lent, observed since Buddha's time.

5. Ceremony of the 11th month (August) to observe the 8 precepts, and to pay gratitude to the buffalos that have worked hard in the rice fields, and to pay respect to the Mae Posop, the Goddess of Rice.

6. Ceremony of the 12th month (September), to give alms to the poor and the elderly and donation to the temples.

7. Ceremony of the first month (October) to mark the end of the Buddhist Lent to present the yellow Kathincloth to the monks.

8. Ceremony of the second month (November), held on the full moon, to float away the misfortune and to listen to the sermon on the ten lives of Buddha.


Chiang Mai is not an ancient urban city frozen in time. Its values do not stop at any epoch in the past centuries. Though a masterpiece product of human creative genius of the late 13th century, Chiang Mai thrives on, and today is a rare and unique city in the world that has been continuously inhabited by diverse groups of population whose traditions and cultures have been combined and blended into a rich living civilization for as long as 700 years.

Today, many of Chiang Mai's ancient sites, monuments and Buddhist temples have been completely restored, some might have been "made over" in different historical periods and in modern time, so that they would not look like sad remnants of the past, but to function as a living heritage that continue to serve its people in many of the traditional ways of the past, but also in the context of the contemporary society.

Today, the continuously restored city of Chiang Mai proudly exhibits its entire and unique fortification system of inner and outer walls and moats, the beautifully renovated temples located not only in the astrologically calculated cardinal directions, but dotting the city inside and outside supported by the surrounding communities, the spaces in the city center and in many the social and cultural areas have been recently cleaned up and reconstruct in respect of the old city plan. Though constrained and congested by modern urbanization and the influx of migrants and tourists, and overwhelmed by exuberant modern activities, the Chiang Mai historical monuments, sites, and cultural landscape are being safeguarded and still serve the multi purposes for the promotion of social and cultural identity, for educational and value transmission, and for the enhancement of the city's outstanding universal values.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité


Urban planning as an authentic human creation
Urban planning which begins first and foremost with the selection of site is indeed an authentic human creation.
Chiang Mai, as a unique creative accomplishement in urban planning displays its authenticity in the founders having the authentic knowledge and experiences, both from the founding of and living in many cities in the past and from further research and from consultations, resulting in his wide decision in choosing the auspicious site of the new city for its sustainability and prosperity. 
The knowledge is based on the concept of "Chaiya Phum" combined with knowledge of astrology and Hindhu-Buddhist cosmology. This concept of "Chaiya Phum" is recorded in many regional chronicles, particularly the Chiang Mai Chronicle which comes to us in so many versions, written in the Manna language and scripts on palm leaf manuscripts. Many versions if the Chronicle has been transcribed into modern Thai scripts, and one version, obtained from a temple and studied by the late Dr. Hans Penth of Chiang Mai University, has been subsequently translated into English by the late historian David Wyatt and Arunrut Wichienkeeo. 

The authenticity of the city design
The city planning process is also described in the Chiang Mai chronicle. The authentic dates of the founding of Chiang Mai and its horoscope are also recorded in the various versions of Lanna chronicles, as well as on the stone inscription dated 1592 found and kept at Wat Chiangman, the first temple built by Mangrai in CHiang Mai. All of the written sources show the uniquely remarkable decision making involving not only Mangrai, the founder and King of Lanna, but also the two kings of strategically allied kingdoms: Payoa and Sukhothai. The stele also shows the astrology governing the construction of Chiang Mai as well as other details of the city early development. 

The physical evidences to verify the shape and form of the City of Chiang Mai, as described in the written sources, can still be confirmed by aerial photographs, old photographs, the physical archaeological remains, as well as earlier reports of the archaeologists/restorers on the Archaeological Unit at Chiang Mai over the past 2-3 decades.

The authenticity of Chiang Mai as the capital of Lanna
This is verified by its history of more than 700 years. Its major historical events were documented in various chronicles which mentioned it as a city that dominated the large area from the Shan states (in the present day Myanmar) to Luang Prabang in present-day Laos, and Xishuangbannanow in Southwest China.

The Lan Na Kingdom was recognized in the New Yuanchao chronicle, 149th chapter, and Ming chronicle, 315th chapter, as “Babaixifu”, a kingdom of 800 consorts. Its Chinese name reflects traditional alliances where lesser feudal lords sent their daughters as concubines to the larger, more powerful kingdom to demonstrate loyalty and guarantee protection.

A great variety of sources including the chronicle of Chiang Mai, The chronicles of Harpunchai, Nan, Chiengtung, and many other Buddhist sources have recorded the name, the date, and other details in connection with the founding of these monuments and sites. These sources have been read, translated and analyzed into many modern texts on the History of Lannawritten by Thai and foreign historians.

Ancient Chinese documents including the new Yuan Dynasty Chronicle (No149) and the Ming Chronicle (No 315) also made references to some of the monuments and sites. In addition, the discovery of the history of Chiang Mai authored by monks and inscribed on palm leaves together with the records of the building of various temples that have been copied and preserved through generations, demonstrates the authenticity of Chiang Mai in its physical, cultural and spiritual aspects. This definitive scientific evidence is given life and color by the lively folk legends surrounding Chiang Mai and Lan Na.

According to the Yuanchao chronicle, “Babaixifu” was a Buddhist state with tens of thousands of villages scattering around its territory. Each village had its own temples and stupas.

The Lan Na Kingdom indeed prospered from rice growing and tropical products including spices, medicinal herbs, natural dyes, animal hides and ivory. Elephants were used in battle and transportation, particularly on mountainous terrain. As well as being the capital of Lan Na, Chiang Mai was a strategic trading post on the sub-route of the Silk Road. Caravans of Chinese silk and porcelain along with ivory and sandal wood passed through Chiang Mai en route to the Port of Mawlamyine (in present day Myanmar where the Salween flows into the Andaman Ocean) and through Ayuthaya to the Gulf of Siam.

Chiag Mai and Lanna have been, in modern time, the subject of many investigations, academic studies and scientific researches which reveal the exceptionally importance of Chiang Mai in different periods of history of Southeast and East Asia.

The authenticity of the sources.
The Lanna Kingdom and all the cities and towns in the Lanna area has a very rich and credible written tradition for recording almost every important event that takes place in the kingdom, at the temple, and in the community.

The "AksornTham" scripts (see photos), so called because they are traditionally used for writing Buddhist religious texts, are also known as the Lanna scripts and are used from at least from 1300 to the present. The scripts are at present used by various Tai groups, especially the Tai Yuan, the Tai Lue, and the Tai Khun.

The Tham scripts are found in stone inscriptions at temples, in Lanna, for example, the inscription at Wat Chiangman as well as in the numerous palm leaf manuscripts found at all the temples in the Lanna area.

As a spoken language, it is also called "Kham muang" meaning the " language of the City", and is used by approximately 6 million people in the northern region of Thailand and in tens of thousands in the neighboring areas.

Thanks to the Lanna scripts, historians are able to learn about the "golden age” of Lanna (1400 to 1525 AD) and its “renaissance” (1775 up the modern times). Both were periods of prosperity made possible by peace and stability of the city of Chiang Mai, capital of the Lanna Kingdom. In response to pedagogic and ritual needs, large numbers of manuscripts were copied and new texts were written in the distinctive Tham alphabets and vowels, thus enabling the Lanna Buddhist culture to rapidly develop into a great regional civilization, consolidating the internal ethnic community and temple network which endure until today.

Authenticity of the restoration technique
The monuments and sites of Chiang Mai nominated in this nomination are mostly temples and public spaces, nationally and regionally held as being historically important, with cultural influences extended to the communities in the vicinity, or in the entire region. In the case of temples, some, such as Wat PraThat Doi Suthep, is regarded as the most important nationally and internationally.

Temples in the Lanna region are all surrounded by walls with gates on important cardinal directions. The surrounding walls are for the demarcation of the sacred area, though a Buddhist temple is a public place opened to all. Inside the walled temple compound, there are a number of buildings built in different historical periods, and subsequently repaired, restored and renovated in accordance with the social and cultural needs and situations.

Because the repair and renovation in the past always involved, to a very large extent, the devotees and the communities as the stakeholders, the authenticity as specified in the Operational Guidelines and in the Nara Declaration, such as:

1) Form and design,

2) Materials and substance,

3) Use and function,

4) Location and setting

…are already carefully looked after by the stakeholders. For them, the repair and restoration are for the purpose of keeping the old heritage of the past alive, in functions and spirit, as well as in form and style, as they represent their cultural identity dated back to the golden age of Lanna civilization. It is also important that the heritage is upheld in glory and dignity in the eyes of the present generations and continue to do so in the future.

In modern times, however, devotees make voluntary donations towards the maintenance of the temple, and for the restoration or recreation of certain buildings in decaying state. The abbot and the temple committee composed of community members, are normally in charge of restoration, but if the temples are registered as archaeological monuments, the Fine Arts Department will be responsible for the restoration plan and design. Traditions and techniques are of huge considerations and in Chiang Mai, the conservation group and the university as well as the traditional scholars are very vocal on these issues.

The Intangible authenticity
Within the walled city, there are 37 temples which served mainly as social spaces for culture, education, entertainment and, most importantly, spiritual pursuit. Because of Chiang Mai's location on the land sub- silk route and the river trade route of Southeast Asia, temples also served as places for overnight stays to travelers on long journeys before the advent of hotels and guesthouses. Today, in the spirit of “Dana", temples welcome pilgrims from near and far, even some tourists.

The ancient temples outside of the city walls are also numerous, some are deserted and are regarded as archaeological sites while many have been continuously restored and renovated in the form and design widely recognized as the Lanna style of arts and architecture. Restoration was done by monks and community artisans with the spirit of faith and devotion, using materials and substance that are close to the original, so that the monuments could continue to be used for the original functions for which they were built.

There are many intangible cultural traditions and celebrations which are associated with the monuments and sites of Chiang Mai. Apart from the Buddhist celebrations such as Visaka Puja, Maka Puja which are cerebrated in the uniquely Lanna style, there are other non-Buddhist traditions which are living, and are practiced with the traditional Lanna spirit and feeling.

The reverence paid annually to the Inthakin or Town Pillar, still considered the soul of the city and the cause of the City’s stability and prosperity, is still a popular practice, though non Buddhist. The offerings of flowers at 108 points around the Inthakin are still practiced by the Municipality, the provincial government and the communities. The worshipping of the statute of a Kumpan, an equivalent of a protective mythological figure in a form of gigantic ogre, and the celebration of the royal yang tree, the botanical symbol and landmark of the city noticeable by traders' caravans coming from afar, continue to be celebrated in four corners of the town for extending the city’s prosperity and longevity.

The maintenance of strategic spots, especially the four corners of the city wall and the five gates, believed to be the abode of the city protective spirits of those who built and reigned over Chiang Mai, were assigned to the city’s nobilities in the past. Today, this responsibility is given to educational establishments at all levels and local communities to promote the direct participation of the present day community in the conservation and perpetuation of Chiang Mai's traditions, as their heritage and as a living and functional city.

1.7. Authenticity of the restoration of non- religious monuments.

Non Buddhist monuments and sites which are nominated are already preserved, restored or recreated by the communities or the owners of the properties because of their historical significance to the community, to Chiang Mai and to the region. The communities usually have a big role in the decision making, and recreation is often for reasons that the old structures can no longer be sustained.

The built structures in Chiang Mai can also be verified by many archaeological sketches and drawings, reports, and inventoried registration by the Fine Arts Department and old photographs.Old photographs taken in the last centuries of the monuments and places as well as peoples in city of Chiang Mai have been collected and archived; many of them can be viewed on many websites in connection with old Chiang Mai.


The integrity of the monuments, sites, and the cultural landscape of Chiang Mai, capital of Lanna rests on three pillars:

  1. The integrity of the physical remains;
  2. The integrity of the cultural memory
  3. The integrity of the spiritual identity

For the physical remains; the inner and outer town walls, moat and forts are preserved on their original locations from when Chiang Mai was founded. They represent the traditional construction methods and style of Lan Na. Parts of the earthen wall still stand; the western wall is still in perfect condition. The reason for this could be due to the double layer design of the wall. Although the city gates have been adapted to some extent by development, the relationship of the remaining structures to the overall city design is clear and the condition of the city remains essentially that which was restored by King Kawilain 1782 after the wars with the Burmese.

The nominated properties that are selected and presented in the serial nomination to satisfy the criteria 1, 2, 3, and 6, are all whole and intact of their natural and/or cultural heritage and attributes. All the necessary elements are all retained to convey the outstanding universal values as earlier explained in the part on "Justification".

Although many monuments have suffered from the elements of time, nature, neglect and war, they have been subsequently restored and renovated as most of the monuments and sites within Chiang Mai are closely related to the spiritual identity of the people. The skilled craftsmen and artisans who are responsible for the restoration and renovation, therefore, carried out their work at ancient temples with the aim of making them to be complete and whole as original, to the best of their knowledge and ability. These artisans are still continuing their school of arts and crafts within the family or the communities located near the temples. These families and communities together with the temples served the important function of cultural transmission to ensure that the arts and architectural styles of Lanna will remain intact into the future.

Threats and risks

The present threats which are currently harmful to the integrity of Chiang Mai as a whole, is over-development, rapid urbanization, the influx of tourists (about 5 million per year to Chiang Mai, and 1 million per year to Doi Suthep), and the migration from outside Lanna. There are also unskilled workers who migrated from the neighboring areas who take up all kinds of jobs at the marketplace and the night bazaars.  As a result, land ownerships are changing hands very rapidly, and old quiet quarters of Chiang Mai have become nightclubs, karaoke bars, and other cheap entertainment joints. The "Love Chiang Mai group" and other NGOs have been very active and vocal against these threats.

The Chiang Mai municipality has recently issued a local law prohibiting demolition, adaptation, and reconstruction in historic and designated areas that will become effective next year.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

1. Luang Prabang

The World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang in Lao is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.

Comparing Chiang Mai with Luang Prabang which are in fact sister cities related by kinship and cultural relations, one finds many similarities in the Buddhist culture, language, and traditional arts and architecture, but noting the big differences in the scope, context and length of their histories, the different scale of urban development and the size of their population.

2. Melaka and George Town

The historic cities of the Straits of Malacca have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

Comparing with Chiang Mai, one notes that the cities of the Strait of Malacca developed mainly through trades and exchanges of values with the western colonizers, whereas Chiang Mai developed 200 years earlier through political unification and consolidation of Tai and Thai states, through Buddhism combined with traditional beliefs, through agriculture, especially rice growing, and trades of forest products and rice. Interchanges with the western and other religious values came much later but have nevertheless left tangible evidences on the cityscape of Chiang Mai as well as the intangible impact on its culture. The longer history of Chiang Mai seemed to be more complicated involving many layers of historical epochs and multiple players. Interchanges of human values are similar in the sense that it involved the diversity of religions and cultures.

3. The Champasak cultural landscape, including the Vat Phou Temple complex

This is a remarkably well-preserved planned landscape more than 1,000 years old. It was shaped to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity, using an axis from mountaintop to riverbank to lay out a geometric pattern of temples, shrines and waterworks extending over some 10 km. Two planned cities on the banks of the Mekong River are also part of the site, as well as Phou Kaomountain. The whole represents a development ranging from the 5th to 15th centuries, mainly associated with the Khmer Empire.

Comparing the Champasak and Wat Phu with the Chiang Mai city and its cultural landscape is interesting because both involve the sacred mountain and the waterworks. Champasak and Wat Phu being more ancient are distinctively Hindu and Buddhist in their concept whereas Chiang Mai, developed at a later stage, is based on the indigenous beliefs blended with the locally adapted philosophy of the Hindu-Buddhist cosmos. Wat Phu was deserted whereas temples in Chiang Mai are living cultural, educational and religious centers.

4. Sukhothai and its associated towns

Sukhothai was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries and was contemporary of the Lanna Kingdom. It has a number of fine monuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture. The great civilization which evolved in the Kingdom of Sukhothai absorbed numerous influences and ancient local traditions; the rapid assimilation of all these elements forged what is known as the 'Sukhothai style'.

Sukhothai had a great and sustained influence upon on the concept of the founding of Chiang Mai, as King Ruang was one of the sworn brothers invited by King Mangrai to inspect the site and to give recommendations on the city plan of Chiang Mai. The city plan of Sukhothaiis similar to Chiang Mai, but the shape is square and is surrounded by a triple system of walls and moats. 

Later, in the reign of King Kuena, a senior learned monk from Sukhothai was invited to Chiang Mai to promote the development of the Lankan school of Buddhism in Lanna that had a significant influence on the beliefs of the people as well as on the arts and architecture of Chiang Mai. But Sukhothai was short- lived and was soon annexed by Ayuthya in the lower river basin. And though the Sukhothai School of Arts and Architecture continued to flourish, the city as the capital of a Kingdom came to an end too soon.

The city of Sukhothai together with its associated towns of Sri Sachanalai and Kampaengpetch became deserted. Chiang Mai on the other hand was inspired by the cultural developments of many other cities and Kingdoms in addition to Sukhothai, and through diplomacy, military strength, and acceptance of other cultures, large and small, the city of Chiang Mai was able to live through its long and eventful history and has prospered for 700 years until today.