In 1350, King U-Thong, the King of Siam (or Krung Tai as the kingdom called itself), ordered a new capital city built on an island at the confluence of three rivers. He named it Ayutthaya, after the home of Rama in the Indian epic, Ramayana. Over the next 400 years, Ayutthaya rose to greatness, becoming one of Southeast Asia’s most prosperous cities. At its height, it was a cosmopolitan city with a population of a million people, had a bustling trade with not only other kingdoms throughout SE Asia, but also with Europe, and was frequently compared to Paris & Venice.
In 1564, after 2 years of war, the Burmese army sacked the city and burned it to the ground. It was abandoned by the Thai, who eventually established a new capital near Bangkok. The palaces, wats, and monasteries were left in ruins.
Today, modern day Ayutthaya has grown up in and around these ruins. In 1991, the entire island of Ayutthaya was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not only for its amazing architecture (which shows influences from other parts of Asia as well as Europe) but also for its clever planning and use of the natural landscape.
We recently went back and revisited some of the photos we took during our time here in 2013, and thought we’d share a few of our current favorites from our visit.