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Müang Sing

Müang Sing

Town Plan of 1890

original document:
NOV 2000
AUG 2019

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Start HGT  →  Forschung / Veröffentlichungen  →  Müang Sing  →  Müang Sing: Stadtplan von 1890


In the Bangkok archives there is a plan of Müang Sing which apparently has been drawn by the Siamese in about 1890. It is written in Thai.

Here are three versions:

Müang Sing map 1890 original

copy of the original
double click for large size !!

Müang Sing map 1890 refreshed

redrawn for better readability
double click for large size !!

Müang Sing map 1890 simplified

simplified with English text

Please pay attention, that  this plan is NOT DIRECTED TOWARDS THE NORTH. The corner down on the left is the northern corner. In consequence Wat Luang (look at the top of that plan!) is situated at the SE-wall of the town.

Buildings and Inhabitants

According to this plan the city of Müang Sing was set out like a chessboard (8 x 8 squares). It is divided by streets of different breadth and has an earthen wall whith 12 gates, three on each side. In the centre of the town the ruler’s palace and other princely buildings were erected. By 1890 there existed only one monastery whithin the town walls: Wat Luang.

The population density differed from square to square. There was a lot of empty space in the NW while in the SE and E there were up to four houses in a square (read "rüan" as "house"), altogether 121 houses.

This corresponds rather well to inquiries about the houses of Müang Sing and surroundings in 1888. According to that the town of Müang Sing includes 137 houses, in addition 346 houses were situated in 15 further settlements. Apparently there was not a real census, but it was known, that about 3000 people lived in the whole plain of Müang Sing. If, what can be assumed, seven individuals lived in a house on average, then nearly 1000 people were inside the wall of the town.

Comparison between the plan and the reality

It is not possible to interpret correctly every figure of length or distance in that town plan.

In use are the units sen, wa and sok, which in all probability differ in value from the "same" units nowadays.

unit today about 1890
1 sen 40 m (in Laos) 34 m??
1 wa 2 m (in Laos) 1,70 m
1 sok (cubit) 50 cm 61 cm (?)

According to verbal information in Müang Sing we use as an attempt the old "Lao-wa" (1 wa = 1,70 m). Consequently the conversion into sen (1 sen = 20 wa) leads to 1 sen = 34 m.

  given in the plan calculated 1) in fact
Width of the streets:
principal axis
streets between the other gates
side streets
12 wa
5 wa
3 wa
20,4 m
8,5 m
5,1 m
The wall:
length of the edges
6 sok
5 sen, 4 wa
3 ... 3,6 m
177 m
ca 800 m
(from the border) to Phong
(from the mountain Khao Luang)
to Chiang Khaeng
to Nan
260 sen
221 sen
10,764 sen
8,84 km
7,51 km
366 km
as the crow flies
ca 10 km
ca 260 km
1) 1 sen = 34 m ; 1 wa = 1,70 m (as an attempt)

The given values for the streets may be plausible. But the other figures do not correspond with reality, especially the length of the wall. However, as the Siamese map was adapted from a Lü original (unavailable in the Thai National Archives), a script error cannot be excluded.

Supposedly, the original manuscript reads "25 sen and 4 wa" (instead of 5 sen, 4 wa), which is equal to 504 wa. With the old Lao unit wa (1,70 m) or still better with the French "brasse" (1,62 m) the "given" value would fit reality.

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