The Grand Palace

Public buildings in Thailand reach ardently for the sky. And, because their intricate spires are done to make them appear aflame, their skyward reach suggests a pining urgency. King Rama V went to and fell in love with Victorian Europe, came back and built a Windsor-like palace, but being a well-grounded Thai monarch, he put flaming roofs on top. To be fair, the structures are extraordinary, unique. The emerald Buddha atop its glittering high altar bends you to prayer and meditation, whatever your faith. The gables and some roofs are a mossy green, and there are other greens, and that color works well to set off the gold and the shimmering mirror-work on spires, gables and walls within the compound of the Grand Palace. On a hot summer day such as today, the palace and the monastery in the precinct are a blazing beauty.

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