Founded in 1350, the city of Ayuthaya – another Unesco World Heritage is located in the Chao Phraya River valley in Thailand. It sits on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting it to the Gulf of Siam. Ayutthaya presents a glimpse into the glory of ancient Thailand, where visitors can wander the haunting but romantic ruins of the former capital. After the Sukhothai period, the city was the most important in Thailand, and the old palaces and temples stand as a testament to this. There are also several foreign settlements, where you can gain a greater understanding of the influence other countries had in Thailand at the time.
Ayutthaya province is relatively small at 2,557 sq. km. and is easily accessible due to good road, rail and river connections and its proximity to Bangkok. Straddling the Chao Phraya River, the nation’s principal waterway, the province isextremely important, as it was the Siamese capital for four centuries.
The city of Ayutthaya is 76 km. north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins from its days as the capital. Just to the south, in perfect condition, stands the royal palace of Bang Pa-in set in splendid gardens. The province is also noted for H.M. the Queen’s Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya, formally designated Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was the Thai capital for 417 years, and is one of Thailand’s major tourist attractions. Many ancient ruins and art works can be seen in a city that was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong when the Thais were forced southwards by northern neighbours. During the period when Ayutthaya was capital, 33 kings and several dynasties ruled the kingdom, until the glittering city was sacked by the Burmese in 1767, ruined and abandoned.
The extensive ruins and the historical records demonstrate that Ayutthaya was one of Southeast Asia’s most prosperous cities. In recognition of its historical and cultural importance, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, the location of the ruins adjacent to today’s city, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.