Church of Santa Cruz


in Chinatown

BANGKOK, THAILAND - 2013/10/19: Santa Cruz Church, known to Thais as Wat Kudichin, sits along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. After the fall of Ayutthaya, King Taksin gave the Portuguese a plot of land for the building of a catholic church in Thonburi, the new capital. The current Santa Cruz Church was built in Italian style.  A famous Thai cake is named after Santa Cruz Church "Khanom Farang Kudichin".. (Photo by John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LightRocket via Getty Images

Centuries before Sukhumvit became Bangkok's international district, the Portuguese claimed fa·ràng (Western) supremacy on a riverside plot of land given to them by King Taksin, in appreciation for their support after the fall of Ayuthaya. Located on this concession, the Church of Santa Cruz dates to 1913.

Very little activity occurs on the grounds itself, but small and fascinating village streets break off from the main courtyard into the area known as Kuti Jiin, the local name for the church. On Soi Kuti Jiin 3, a few houses continue to sell Portuguese-inspired cakes and sweets.