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A day in Ayutthaya

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You can’t really know a place if you don’t know its history.
You can’t really know the Thailand unless you visit Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam.

Set among the roots of an ancient Bodhi tree, the Buddha head with her sweet look and the serene smile, is the symbol of the archaeological park a World Heritage Site since 1991. Every visitor search it, wandering among the ruins of the temples and statues wrapped in golden cloths. She, however, remained in her position, protected from roots of the fig tree that saved her from the Burmese looting of 1767. Last witness of the greatness and splendor of Ayutthaya or Ayuthya “the invincible”, capital of the ancient kingdom of Siam.

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The city’s history is told by the stones of its temples scarred by a cruel fate and by the passage of centuries. Nevertheless there was a time when Ayutthaya was, as its name says in Sanskrit, invincible …In 1351, in fact, the Prince Ramathibodi I, chose it as the capital of his kingdom after his escape from Lopburi to survive to a smallpox epidemic. In the fifteenth century Ayutthaya was the center of Siam power, and during his best years was a metropolis with three royal palaces, 375 temples, 94 entrances to the city and 29 defensive fortresses. French, Portuguese, British, Dutch and Japanese traders lived in its urban districts along with 1 million Siamese, and the splendor of the city had the color of gold which decorated the roofs of the stupas.

Today, paying a tour which costs 500 baht per person, you can see what remains of the ancient capital: the skeletons of the buildings looted the 7 April 1767 by the Burmese who destroyed the city, burned the temples, and cutted off the heads of the Buddha statues as a sign of scarring. Every corner of the historic park will reserve you surprises, because Ayutthaya is big, very big, and will not be enough a single day to discover it all. You can visit it, with mini bus, by bicycle or with short walks on elephant.

I don’t know whether it was for the heat stroke that made me get a fever of 38 degrees or for the magical atmosphere that was breathed in front of the immense temples but, for me, the devastation and the passing years,haven’t scratched the beauty of Ayutthaya,nay they have donated to the city a timeless charm whose symbol is the head of Buddha embedded in the sacred tree: the last witness of the invincible capital of the ancient kingdom of Siam.

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