Ayutthaya, Thailand: City of Buddhas; Derek Ray; San Diego Reader

Thailand – Historic City of Ayutthaya

The ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, about eighty kilometers north of Bangkok, is a worthwhile day trip if you’re staying in Bangkok.

To really appreciate Ayutthaya, it helps to know a little about its history. Following Sukhothai, it was the capital of Thailand for 417 years, from 1350 to 1767. With a population of about 1 million it was the largest city in the world in 1700. It became an important trading center and won the admiration of Western visitors, who compared it favorably to the European capitals. In 1767 it reached a sudden demise when the Burmese destroyed the city.

Ayutthaya has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991, but only remnants of its former grandeur remain. It sustained further damage from the floods that recently inundated Thailand.

The ruins at Ayutthaya do not quite equal Cambodia’s Angkor Wat in their scale and impressiveness, largely due to the extent of the Burmese sacking.

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