Grand Palace is a complex that houses some of the most magnificent buildings of Bangkok. Located on the eastern banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace served as the palatial residence of the king of Thailand from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. Its construction began in 1782, during the regime of Rama I and henceforth, the royal complex served as the official abode of the king and his court. In fact, with time, it became the major directorial apex of the entire Thai government.
The plan of the complex follows that of the Ayutthaya period. During
the imperial presence, its premises housed various ministries and
departments of the country. The Outer Court inside the complex formed
the site of the different government departments that also included the
treasury and the army. Near to the Outer Court is the 'Temple of the
Emerald Buddha' that rests on the other end of the complex. The middle
of the compound formed the site of the Central Court, which were the
innermost halls of the palace, where the King resided.
The Inner Court, resembling a small city, is located behind the Central
Court and formed the dwelling areas of the women. It was here that the
King's royal consorts and daughters lived. Except young boys, no males
were allowed inside its domains. Even today, the Inner Court is under
lock and key and is not open to the public. The original area of the
entire compound of Grand Palace was about 51 acres. However, under the
rule of King Rama II, it saw expansion to its present area, which is
nearly about 60 acres. With its dazzling groups of palaces, halls and
buildings, this royal enclave is a must-visit during a trip to Bangkok.