The Historic City of Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 as the second capital of Siamese Kingdom. It thrived from the 14th to 18th century during which time it became one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world as well as the global center of diplomacy and commerce.
The city is nestled on an island formed by 3 rivers which connect it to the sea. The site selection for the city was informed by the fact that this ground was well above the tidal bore of the Gulf of Siam. Besides, the natural barriers protected it from the warships from other nations.
In 1767, the Burmese army attacked and burnt the city, forcing its residents to seek refuge elsewhere. Unfortunately, the city would never rise again after this and today, it is an extensive archaeological site.
Presently the city is located in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District. All of its 289 hectares were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991. Notable monuments in the city include the Buddhist monasteries and reliquary towers that illustrate the city’s lost glory.
The city of Aytthaya was laid out in a rigid urban grid that consists of canals, moats, roads and several other principal structures. The layout sought to maximize the advantages of its position in the middle of 3 rivers. The city also featured a hydraulic system of water management that was way ahead of its time.
The ideal location on which it is situated allowed the expanding Arab and European powers trade with Siam. Apparently, the kingdom was also looking for ways to expand its influence in the region. To promote trade and international relations, the Royal Court of Ayutthaya sent ambassadors to French Court of Versailles, Mughal Court in Delhi and Chinese and Japanese Imperial courts. The historic Ayutthaya City is well worth a visit.
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