Santa Cruz Church, Bangkok

Santa Cruz Church, Bangkok

Santa Cruz Church is a small Roman Catholic Church located on the east side of the Chao Phraya River close to Memorial Bridge. It is one of the landmarks of the Portuguese community at the river coast of Thonburi District.

In 1516, Portugal signed a treaty with Thailand to supply ammunitions and as a result obtained the rights to reside, trade and practice their religion in Thailand. When Ayutthaya was defeated in 1767, the Portuguese continued with their military support to King Taksin so as to drive the Burmese out of Thailand. After the destruction of Ayutthaya, the Catholics from the old city moved south to start a village by the Chao Phraya. They built the Church of Santa Cruz in the 1700s on the land gifted by King Taksin in appreciation for their loyalty. But the wooden church fell in disrepair and was replaced by a second one in 1835. Since this church had a rather Chinese design, the villagers named it “Kudi Jeen” or Chinese church. The church was built third time in 1916 by two renowned Italian architects Annibale Rigotti and Mario Tamagno.

Before Easter, people prepare the church for the most important catholic feast. They prepare a cart which looked like it was used in an Easter procession. Since Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter are the days of mourning before the celebration of the resurrection, the cross at the altar is covered by a black cloth. Behind the church are the graves of past priests.

Church of Santa Cruz is about the only clue that this part of Bangkok was the area where Portuguese merchants and missionaries once lived in the early years of Bangkok. This Church of the Holy Cross is a legacy of Thai-Portuguese relations that date back to the 16th century. The reddish dome of this Old Catholic church is a prominent landmark on the Chao Phraya River. The sidewalls of the church are decorated with stained glass etched with biblical images. A crucifix is present in one corner of the courtyard and a statue of Mary stands elegantly in the other.

On your visit to Bangkok, do not forget to see this beautiful church to appreciate the architecture of Portuguese culture and heritage.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Bangkok, Thailand within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Santa Cruz Church on Map

Sight Name: Santa Cruz Church
Sight Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Places of Worship Walk in Bangkok  

Walking Tours in Bangkok, Thailand

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