Thailand is home to many magnificent world heritage destinations. Arguably the most awe-worthy of them all is a city that was once the previous capital. Here, a look at one of the country’s most memorable destinations: Ayutthaya.
The city of Ayutthaya dates to 1350. It was the capital of an independent kingdom as of the 14th century. King Ramathibodi I founded Ayutthaya, which thrived as the capital for some four centuries. He named the city after the god’s Rama in the Ramayana, a Hindu epic.
Ayutthaya replaced the old capital city of Sukhothai, the first Siamese capital of Thailand. Sukhothai was founded in 1238 but was otherwise forgotten after Ayutthaya was founded. It only came to be recognized again during the Chakri Dynasty after King Rama I transported artifacts from Sukhothai to Bangkok. He used these to decorate his temples in the city.
Visitors from far and wide were making their way to the city of Ayutthaya at its prime. The capital was equipped with a large trading port as it was hugged by rivers on almost every side of the city. Trading in the city was controlled by royalty at the time.
Though visitors came from around the world, most merchants, traders, and diplomats who visited the Kingdom were European. They were impressed with the city’s many temples, palaces, and other architectural wonders that made up the region. All of the temples and palaces took about 150 years to construct. About 50 of these remain in the city today.
Sadly, the city came to a disastrous end almost as quickly as it was created. The Burmese-Siamese War was a long one, and it is also known as the ‘war of the second fall of Ayutthaya.’ The city was first sacked by the Burmese in 1569. Many people were taken to Pegu and held as hostages.
The fights continued, and in 1767 the city was destroyed. Fire set by the fighting destroyed almost everything in its paths, including many of palaces which were constructed of wood. Citizens were either killed in the siege or taken as prisoners.
Praya Taksin, who later became king, was able to push the Burmese out of Ayutthaya with the help of his army. The capital, however, was moved to Thonburi as Ayutthaya was essentially in ruins. Bangkok eventually became the capital after Thonburi.
It was not until 1991 that the ruins in Ayutthaya were discovered. They were then designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most noteworthy cities in Thailand to visit. The city offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s cultural heritage and history, and visitors should definitely try to visit Ayutthaya if they are making their way to Thailand. The historic city is located about 53 miles north of Bangkok.