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TRAVEL THAILAND » CENTRAL & WESTERN » AYUTTHAYA » History of Ayutthaya
 
 
History of Ayutthaya 
 

The ancient city of Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, was the nation’s capital for more than 400 years until its destruction in 1767; it 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 of Ayutthaya being the Thai capital, 33 Kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767.

The Kingdom of Ayutthaya reached its apex in terms of sovereignty, military might, wealth, culture, and international commerce in the 16th century, when the Kingdom’s territory extended into and beyond present-day Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Ayutthaya had diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and was courted by Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants.

During the 17th century, most foreign visitors to Ayutthaya, traders and diplomats alike, claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and glittering city that they had ever visited. The map of Ayutthaya published in 1691 by Simon de la Loubere in Du Royaume De Siam is proof of such recognition.
Once the capital of the Thai Empire, Ayutthaya was a truly impressive city; with three palaces and over 400 temples, located on an island threaded by canals, it attracted traders and diplomats from both Europe and Asia. In 1767, 417 years after it was founded and 15 months after the siege began, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya was conquered and the city’s magnificent structures were almost completely destroyed by Burmese invaders. When King Taksin the Great finally liberated the Kingdom, a new dynasty was established and the capital was moved to Thonburi, across the river from modern-day Bangkok.

The magnificent canal-lined island city with some 2,000 golden spires affectionately became known as ‘Venice of the East’. Today, chartering a long-tail boat for a trip around the canal moat is the most enjoyable way to absorb many of the momentous riverbank ruins. This centre of Asian civilization is a must see for any traveler to Thailand.


Easily visited on a day excursion from Bangkok, either by road or, more interestingly, by the Chao Phraya River, this ancient city offers an intriguing glimpse into a glorious past.