| ||After the ancient kingdom of Ayutthaya (full name Pra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) was razed by the Burmese army in 1777 AD, Phraya Tak (later King Thonburi) decided to move the capital further south down the Chao Phraya river. Bangkok, the newly established capital, had for hundreds of years been a commercial town situated on the right bank of the river. In 1782, King Rama I, the first king of the current Chakri dynasty, had decreed the construction of the Grand Palace on the left bank of Chao Phraya river and subsequently established a new capital of the Kingdom of Thailand under the name “Krungtheb Maha Nakhorn”, or more commonly known to foreigners as Bangkok. The Grand Palace also accommodates the Emerald Buddha, which is the country’s political and religious symbol as well as all serving as residence for all members of the royal family until the mid-twentieth century. The city has expanded on both sides of the Chao Phraya and now boasts an “official” population of 6 million. In 2005, the average population density stood at 3607 per square km in Bangkok proper, which is lower than London, where the average population density stands at 4700 per square km. To solve the city’s two main problems: traffic congestion and air pollution, the government has in the past ten years opened the Skytrain and subway routes and constructed more roads to ease congestion created by the over 2.5 million car users.
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