Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or Ayutthaya in short, is one of
Thailand's historical and majestic highlights. Serving as the Thai
capital for 417 years (1350 1767: Kingdom of Ayutthaya), it was once
glorified as one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia. During the
17th century, most foreign visitors to Ayutthaya, traders or
diplomats alike, claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and
glittering city that they had ever visited. The map of Ayutthaya
published in 1691 by Simon de la Loubere in Du Royaume De Siam
is proof of such recognition.
Kingdom of Ayutthaya reached its apex in terms of sovereignty,
military might, wealth, culture, and international commerce in the
16th century when the Kingdoms territory was extended far beyond
present-day Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Ayutthaya even had
diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and was courted by
Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants.
Visitors can explore and appreciate Thai history in Phra Nakhon Si
Ayutthaya, which is situated only 86 kilometers north of Bangkok.
Visitors to Ayutthaya can marvel at its grandeur reflected through
numerous magnificent structures and ruins concentrated in and around
the city island surrounded by Maenam Chao Phraya, Maenam Pa Sak and
More importantly,Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Historical Park, an extensive historical site in the heart of
Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO's World Heritage list
since 13 December, 1991.
Kingdom of Ayutthaya was built and developed in leaps and bounds.
The ruins in Ayutthaya that survived the test of time embody both
the glorious and ignominious stories of the Kingdom.
This ancient capital of the Kingdom of
Ayutthaya, founded in 1350 by King U-Thong, had thirty three kings
of different dynasties and reached its peak in the middle of the18th
century. A magnificent city with three palaces and over 400
magnificent temples on an island threaded by canals Ayutthaya was
truly an impressive city that attracted both Europeans and Asians.
After a 15-month siege the Kingdom of Ayutthaya was conquered and
completely destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. When King Taksin the
Great finally liberated the Kingdom, a new dynasty was established
and the capital was moved to Thonburi.
The seal of Ayutthaya depicts a conch on a
pedestal tray placed in a small castle under a Mun tree. According
to legend, King U-Thong, founder of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya,
discovered a beautiful conch buried in the ground being prepared for
the establishment of the seat of his Kingdom. Consequently, he had a
tiny castle built to house the shell. Hence, the provincial seal.
there are but groups of crumbling ruins and rows of headless Buddhas
where once an empire thrived. The temple compounds are still
awe-inspiring even in disrepair and a visit here is memorable and a
good beginning for those drawn to the relics of history.
The architecture of Ayutthaya is a
fascinating mix of Khmer (ancient Cambodian style) and early
Sukhothai style. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote
Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor
Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai
influence. For new arrivals who had limited their visit to Bangkok,
similarities may be noted with the riverside Wat Arun, an
18th-century structure that was built in the so-called Ayutthaya
style, a melding of Sukhothai Buddhist influences and Hindu-inspired
Ayutthaya is administratively divided into 16
districts: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ban Phraek, Bang Ban, Bang
Pahan, Bang Pa-in, Amphoe Bang Sai, Bang Sai, Lat Bua Luang, Maha
Rat, Nakhon Luang, Phachi, Phak-Hai, Sena, Tha Rua, Uthai and Wang