Ayutthaya Ancient Capital (Thailand)

How is is going mates? Fun holidays at all?

Well…Just got back from Asia recently and, man, Ayutthaya is just stunning! What a piece of Architecture and Urban Design!

Ok! You probably have never heard of it and have no idea where it is located. The Ancient City of Ayutthaya is located in Thailand, around one hour away by car from Bangkok, its current capital. The city is positioned in the midst of three rivers and had a hydraulic system for water management which was technologically extremely advanced and unique in the world. It was actually one of the world’s largest urban areas in the 18th Century, when it was attacked and burned down by the Burmese.

Ayutthaya Location with three converging rivers. Source: Google Maps 2020. Source: https://www.google.com.au/maps

Ayutthaya Historical Park Map. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayutthaya_Historical_Park

Founded in 1350 as the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom, after Sukhothai, the city flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, growing to become one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a centre of global diplomacy and commerce of its time. After being destroyed in 1767 its inhabitants were forced to abandon the city. Therefore, the city was never rebuilt and remains today as a massive and beautiful archaeological site.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram (Temple)

After the destruction, when the capital of the restored kingdom was moved downstream and a new city built at Bangkok, there was a conscious attempt to recreate the urban template and architectural form of Ayutthaya. This pattern of urban replication is in keeping with the urban planning concept in which cities of the world consciously try to emulate the perfection of the mythical city of Ayodhaya, apparently a legendary city in India mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit language texts, including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Another interesting fact is that, in Thai, the official name for the new capital at Bangkok retains “Ayutthaya” as part of its formal title.

Wat Phra Ram (Temple)

In the end it just amazed me how spectacular is the Architecture of some similar places I’ve been to in Thailand and how disappointed I felt at the same time for not having studied those places during University time. I didn’t even know that they existed! I realised how Eurocentric our schools and educational system in Brazil could be.

Wat Phra Ram (Temple)

Wat Phra Ram (Temple)

Wat Phra Ram (Temple)

Wat Mahathat (Temple)

Wat Mahathat (Temple)

The Ancient City of Ayutthaya is a UNESCOS’s World Heritage Listed Site and very worth a visit. Forget about the heat, forget about the very bright sun, once you get there you realise the majesty of the location. It does not matter whether you are a Buddhist, a Catholic or a Muslim, the city’s grandiosity and beauty will catch you straight away!

 

*All the images in this post belongs to the writer´s personal gallery and correspond to intellectual property, otherwise as noted.

Important Sources:

https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayodhya_(Ramayana)

https://www.britannica.com/place/Ayodhya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayutthaya_Historical_Park

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