Six years ago, floodwaters inundated the UNESCO cultural world heritage site in Ayutthaya, causing severe damage to the Historical Park and leading to the setting up of the German Wat Ratchaburana Safe-guarding Project (GRASP).
Under the leadership of renowned “stone doctor” Prof Hans Leisen from the University of Applied Sciences Cologne, Germany and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, GRASP intervened to conserve the unique stucco and plaster at Wat Ratchaburana – one of the most spectacular temples of the former royal city.
Leisen has been Professor for Conservation Science: Conservation and Restoration of Objects of Stone and other mineral porous building materials at Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences CICS since 1990.
Wat Ratchaburana was founded in 1424 by King Borommarachathirat II – also known as Chao Sam Phraya of the Ayutthaya Kingdom
In a 2014 interview with The Nation, Chaiyanand Busayarat, director of the Ayutthaya Historical Park talked about the project and expressed deep appreciation to the German team that helped Thailand restore the stucco and brick structure and to Dr Leisen, who assisted the Fine Arts Department in studying and restoring the brick and mortar used in the Ayutthaya era.
The official handing-over ceremony of the successfully concluded project was held on Tuesday, March 28 in the presence of German Ambassador Peter Prugel, Sahabhum Bhumtitterat of the Ministry of Culture, Dr. Sujin Chaichumsak, Governor of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, Anandha Chuchoti of The Fine Arts Department), Preecha Khun-thapraisri, Deputy Mayor, Ayutthaya Municipality, and Sukanya Baonoed, Director of Ayutthaya Historical Park.