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Ayuthaya Historical Park

If you love ancient ruins and old Buddhist temples, you would love Ayutthaya. The city was built on an island surrounded by four rivers. Ancient ruins can be seen scattering all over the place, especially on the western half of the island. Indeed, there are hundreds of aged-old temples dotting in villages and communities throughout the city.

Historically, the kingdom of Ayutthaya dominated Thailand’s central plain region for about 400 years. It was officially founded in 1350 BC by King Ramathibodi I. For centuries, Ayutthaya was a powerful kingdom which traded extensively with the Chinese, the Dutch and the French. Its rulers built a magnificent city, filled with monasteries, canals and monuments.

Ayutthaya Historical Park, accredited as World Heritage Site by UNESCO

However, Ayutthaya also had its rival in the nearby kingdom of Burma. Wars between the two kingdoms happened frequently. The Thai city was first seized by King Bayinnaung of Burma in 1569, but regained its independence about a decade later. Prince Naresuan, who led the battle for independence, became one of Thailand’s greatest heroes when he defeated the Crown Prince of Burma in elephant-back combat. The city was unfortunately toppled again in the 18th century after a series of conflicts between its neighboring states such as Burma and Vietnam. Altogether, thirty three monarchs of different dynasties had ruled the kingdom, producing architectural marvels for the next Thai generations. Nowadays, most of culture and traditions formed during its time are still practiced in Thailand.
Ayutthaya Historical Park is accredited as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site comprises numerous ruins of temples, religious shrines, pavilions and palaces spreading inside the park. It is located about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. It can be accessed by boat, car and train. Every year in December, festivities are organized in the former site of the capital to celebrate the glory of its past. The event includes displays of traditional culture and lifestyles, various entertainments and a memorable light and sound show with the backdrop of Ayutthaya’s ancient ruins and temples.