UNESCO World Heritage Site #17: Historic City of Ayutthaya
An easy day trip from Bangkok, Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of Thailand prior to Bangkok. We stayed here overnight after catching a mini-bus. Most of the city can be toured on a bicycle with only a couple temples requiring a tuk-tuk to reach. This photo of Buddha statues is from Wat Yai Chai Mongkol.
From UNESCO website:
The Historic City of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350, was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. It flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce. Ayutthaya was strategically located on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting the city to the sea. This site was chosen because it was located above the tidal bore of the Gulf of Siam as it existed at that time, thus preventing attack of the city by the sea-going warships of other nations. The location also helped to protect the city from seasonal flooding.
The city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. The city was never rebuilt in the same location and remains known today as an extensive archaeological site.