Saphan Lek

Bangkok, Thailand

Saphan Lek

Saphan Lek (Thai: สะพานเหล็ก, lit. "Iron Bridge") is the name of a bridge and a now-extinct makeshift market near the bridge in Bangkok. Now officially known as Damrong Sathit Bridge (สะพานดำรงสถิต), the bridge was originally built to carry the Charoen Krung Road across Khlong Ong Ang during 1862–1864. It had a steel structure supporting a wooden floor, with an opening mechanism that allowed boats to pass. The bridge was rebuilt in 1900 under the supervision of Carlo Allegri, and named Damrong Sathit in honour of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. It was yet again rebuilt with reinforced concrete in the reign of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII, 1925–1935), and is now a recognised ancient monument.

In the 1980s, the canal-side area south of the bridge became the site of a makeshift market selling video games, electronics and toys. Illegal structures were built that encroached over the canal entirely. In October 2015, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, in a bid to fight encroachment of public space, and with the support of the ruling military junta, successfully evicted the vendors/hawkers and demolished the structure.

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