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Phitsanulok (พิษณุโลก)

Thai. ‘World of Vishnu’. A province (map) and its capital city of the same name in North Thailand, approximately 377 kms North of Bangkok and named after the original designation for Angkor Wat. In the Northeast, a small stretch of land in between Uttaradit and Loei, borders with Xaignabouli province in Laos. The city is located at the Nan river and is known for the Phraphutta Chinnarat Buddha image in Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat. Though the area is said to have been inhabited since the Neolithic Era, the city, then situated at about 5 kilometers to the South of present-day Phitsanulok, was only founded in 953 AD as a strategic Khmer outpost, by Garnboon and Nokrong (fig.), two former chieftains (fig.) and was initially referred to as Song Khwae (สองแคว), meaning ‘Two [River] Tributaries’, due to its then location on the confluence of the Haet (เหตุ) and Nan rivers. In the 14th century, king Mahadhammaracha Lithai (fig.) of Sukhothai, moved the city to its present location, though the name Song Khwae was initially preserved. During the Ayutthaya Period, Phitsanulok served for a while as the second capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. In 1555, Prince Naresuan was born in the city of Phitsanulok and was later sent there to govern it, after his exile in Burma and following his appointment as heir to the throne of Ayutthaya. Today the province has nine amphur. Its main places of interest include Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat (fig.) with the attractive Phraphutta Chinnarat Buddha image (fig.), the Buranathai Buddha Image Foundry (fig.) and the adjacent Suan Nok Thai Seuksah Bird Garden (fig.), a Giant Chicken Coop (fig.) and a Giant Kilometer Marker (fig.) at the Indochina Intersection (map), the Poh Khun Sri Intaratit Monument (fig.), etc. See also Phitsanulok data file.