Tha Phae Gate is the east entrance to the old city district. It is part of the wall that surrounded the city at its founding. Unlike earlier Thai settlements that were oval, Chiang Mai’s architectural plan called for a rectangular moat and wall. Their purpose was to protect the city from Burmese invasion. They also symbolized the seas and mountains of Thailand. The eight main gates of the old city face a specific direction according to the eight compass points. Each has its own astrological significance. Tha Phae Gate faces east and signifies prosperity. Historically, it was the main gate through which monks, traders, and diplomats went to enter Chiang Mai. Much of the original city wall fell to ruin, but Tha Phae Gate remains. Today, it is the site of many cultural activities and festival celebrations. Among them are the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in February, the Thai New Year of Songkran in April, and the Loy Krathong Festival in November.
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