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Phra Nakhon (Thai: พระนคร; IPA: [pʰráʔ náʔkʰɔ̄ːn]) is one of the 50 districts (khet) of Bangkok, Thailand. It is the central district of Bangkok, including Rattanakosin Island. Neighboring districts are, starting from the north, clockwise: Dusit, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Samphanthawong, and across the Chao Phraya River Thonburi, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok Noi, and Bang Phlat.
Phra Nakhon was also the name of Bangkok Province, until it was merged in 1972 with Thonburi to form the present day Bangkok metropolis.
The district is bounded by the Chao Phraya River to the west, Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem in the north, and Ratchadamnoen Road and Khlong Ong Ang to the east. The center of Bangkok, marked by the city pillar shrine (lak mueang), is in the district. Also surrounding the large open space of the Sanam Luang are the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, the National Museum in the former palace of the Vice King, and the main campus of Thammasat University as well as Silpakorn University.
Other significant landmarks in the district include Wat Pho, the Giant Swing, Wat Suthat, Wat Ratchanadda (with Loha Prasat) and the Democracy Monument. Also the well-known Khaosan Road is in the district. Another significant temple is Wat Bowonniwet, where several Thai kings were ordained as monks.
Of the original 14 forts protecting Bangkok only two survive. Fort Phra Sumen in the northern corner of the district, and Fort Mahakan in the east of the district. Since 2000 a small park named Santichaiphrakarn around Fort Phra Sumen was built.
In 2005 the complete riverfront of the Phra Nakhon District, from King Rama I Bridge (Memorial Bridge) in the south to the Wasukri Pier (Dusit District), was submitted to the UNESCO for consideration as a future world heritage site.
Another landmark is Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre on Charoen Krung Road. It is Bangkok’s oldest cinema and was the first air conditioned theater in Thailand. Built at the order of King Prajadhipok and named by him, it was opened on 2 July 1933. It is the only theater from the first “golden age” of Thai cinema still standing. No longer regularly showing movies, the theater has been renovated and is principally used for Thai dance performances. Another point of interest is the Pak Khlong Talat flower market. Tha Phrachan pier is famous as a Thai amulets market.
The area around Phahurat Road (พาหุรัด) can be considered as Thailand’s “Little India”. The road was constructed during King Chulalongkorn’s reign over a century ago and Indian community started to form after that. Siri Guru Singh Sabha, Thailand’s first Sikh temple was built in 1933 near the road. The area is well known for Indian fabric shops and Indian cuisine.