Sunday, February 3, 2008

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Tehran's Ambassador to Bangkok Mohsen Pakaein said the roots of Iran-Thailand cultural ties date back 400 years to the time when Sheikh Ahmad Qomi, an Iranian scholar, traveled to Ayutthaya and later was appointed to a very high position in the Thais (bukan thai, Siam) Court.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA to mark the commemoration day of Sheikh Ahmad Qomi who, the envoy said, had played a very important role in the strengthening of ties between Iran and Thailand, Pakaein said the most renowned reign of Ayutthaya (previous capital of Thailand) was that of King Prasartthong, who introduced great changes in the Thai society.

"Sheikh Ahmad Qomi came in this period, which saw several Muslims holding important posts in the Thais Court, the army, navy and civil service," he said, adding, "As a result, Ayutthaya became a place where mosques were located near Buddhist temples and many Muslims married Buddhists. These persons became the ancestors of many respected Thai families , for example, the Bunnag, Singhaseni, Siphen, Chularat and Bunyaratklalin families."

The diplomat further underlined the crucial role of cultural interactions in creating mutual understanding and friendship between two peoples.

"The Persian influence over Ayutthaya also cover architecture, arts, food and sweets," he said.

"The arches in the old buildings in present-day Ayutthaya are Islamic pointed arches. Bricks are laid so that the weight is transferred down to the walls on both sides. This type of arch can be seen in the front gate of King Narai's Palace in Lop Buri, and at Wat Worachettharam temple in Ayutthaya. The pagoda at Wat Yai Chaimongkol temple in Ayutthaya was also built in the style of the Persian dome," he added.

According to the Iranian ambassador to Bangkok, Persian influence is also discernible in the Thai vocabulary.

"Modern Thai does contain several words of Persian origin which are in current use, such as the Thai words for kulaap ('rose', from Persian golaab), or kalam plii ('cabbage', from Persian kalam(," he concluded.


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