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Unseen in Bangkok

The First Portuguese Church in Thon Buri

The First Portuguese Church in Thon Buri

Santa Cruz” is Portuguese, meaning a great cross. The church, the first Catholic church in Thon Buri, was built by Bishop Gor, a French priest, and the Portuguese Christians who fled the falling capital of Ayutthaya in 1767.
The standing church building, built in 1916, is a graceful Italian-style, one-storied structure, facing the river. The octagonal-dome belfry atop the building is topped with a small niche to house a cross. Inside the belfry are dozens of bells, to be chimed on auspicious occasions throughout the years. For example, they played the king’s royal anthem during Rama VII’s boat trip past the church. The downstairs of the building is a meeting hall with arches decked with floral festoons, with wooden ventilation panels.

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