The Ruins of a Beautiful City
Ayutthaya was the capital of the Thai Kingdom from 1351 until its destruction by the Burmese in 1767. It is situated on an island, bounded by rivers, in the rich central plains of Thailand, 75 kilometers north of the modern capital Bangkok.
As one of the richest cities in the East, Ayutthaya was a magnet for traders from most of the world. Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Persians, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish. These foreign traders lived in prosperous communities outside the walls of the city. The kingdom even set up an embassy at the court of Louis XIV of France. The present royal family of Thailand is descended from that ambassador.
The monuments in the ancient city owe much of their Hindu-Buddhist architecture style to even more ancient Cambodia, with several of the temple complexes modeled closely on the famed complex of Angkor Wat.
Many centuries of rivalry between the Thai and the Burmese culminated in the destruction of the city by Burmese forces. What was left of the Thai court retreated south along the river where they built their new capital - Bangkok. The ruins of Ayutthaya were left neglected for many years until later kings took up their restoration, which continues to this day.
If ever visiting Thailand, this ancient city is a must-see. Be sure to go in the early morning when the light is the best and the crowds are small. That is when most of these photos were taken.