Monday, June 26, 2006

Old City - Ayutthaya - Thailand

The capital of Thailand from 1350 until it was sacked in 1767 by the Burmese, Ayutthaya is 76 kms. north of Bangkok. Magnificent ruins of the old city still remain, some having been restored. Archaeological excavations are still proceeding at many sites in the area. Attractions in Ayutthaya include: Chao Sam Phraya National Museum; the very large Buddha image called "Phra Mongkhon Bophit"; ruins of the former Royal palace which was a complex with many buildings. Ayutthaya can be reached by train from Bangkok or by bus from the Northem Bus Terminal. As for a river excursion, there are some cruisers running from Bangkok to Ayutthaya every day. Today, there are but groups of crumbling ruins and rows of headless Buddhas where once an empire thrived. The temple compounds are still awe-inspiring even in disrepair and a visit here is memorable and a good beginning for those drawn to the relics of history. The architecture of Ayutthaya is a fascinating mix of Khmer (ancient Cambodian style) and early Sukhothai style. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence. For new arrivals who had limited their visit to Bangkok, similarities may be noted with the riverside Wat Arun, an 18th-century structure that was built in the so-called Ayutthaya style, a melding of Sukhothai Buddhist influences and Hindu-inspired Khmer motifs. Ayutthaya is administratively divided into 16 districts: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ban Phraek, Bang Ban, Bang Pahan, Bang Pa-in, Amphoe Bang Sai, Bang Sai, Lat Bua Luang, Maha Rat, Nakhon Luang, Phachi, Phak-Hai, Sena, Tha Rua, Uthai and Wang Noi. Old City River Ayutthaya ThailandOld City Ayutthaya Thailand

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