From Ayutthaya Province

The ancient city of Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was the Thai capital for 417 years. This old capital was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong and was sacked by the Burmese in 1767. Thirty three kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom. Ayutthaya is located 76 kms. north of Bangkok. It was one of Indo-China’s most prosperous cities and is one of Thailand’s major historical attractions. The grandeur of Ayutthaya is reflected by numerous magnificent structures and ruins concentrated in and around the city island surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lop Buri Rivers. The area, well conserved as a historical park, has been included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage since 13 December 1991. Ayutthaya covers an area of 2,556 square kilometres.

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.

St. Joseph’s Church

St. Joseph’s Church

THAI NAME: โบสถ์เซ็นต์ยอเซฟ
LOCATION: Amphoe Muang District in Ayutthaya Province
GPS: 14.338493, 100.550377

St. Joseph’s Church was built during the reign of King Narai in 1666 as a result of a request from the missionaries headed by Bishop Lambert de la Motte a missionary who wished to build a church and a mission school. The original wooden church was rebuilt in bricks and mortar in the European style between 1685 and 1695. During the second Burmese attack, the Siamese used the church as a shelter which led to its being destroyed on 23 March 1767.

St. Joseph’s Church

In 1831 Father Pallegoix came to Siam and took care of the restoration work on the church. The restoration was completed in 1847. More additions in the 12th century Romanesque style were made during the tenure of Father Perros during the reign of King Rama V. The church is a place of continuous Catholic worship in Thailand for over 300 years.

St. Joseph’s Church

St. Joseph’s Church

Ancient Forts and Fortresses

There are many forts along the city wall and fortresses around the outer circle. As found in historical records, these include Pom Mahachai, Pom Phet Pom Ho Ratchakhru, Pom Chidkop, Pom Chompaphon and Pom Yai. Most of them are situated at waterway intersections.

Wat Phra Ram

This temple is situated outside the grand palace compound to the east. King Ramesuan commanded that it be built on the ground where the royal cremation ceremony for his father, King U-Thong, took place. Only a pagoda and a big lagoon called “Bung Phra Ram” remain. The area is currently used as a public park.

Wat Ratchaburana

King Borom Rachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya) built a temple on the site where his two elder brothers were cremated. His two brothers died in a power struggle to succeed their father, King Nakhon In who died in 1424. A series of bell-shaped chedis surround the main prang and a large oblong-shaped viharn is situated at the front. The architectural style evolved from the Khmer prasat, but has been adapted by the addition of a higher multi-layered base and an extended upper section. More corners were added to the main body and the tower section was extended to become corn-shaped. The antefixes, on the other hand, were attached to the body of the tower instead of leaving a decent gap between them which was common in Khmer prasats.

These two temples are separated by Naresuan Road. The Admission fee for each site is 20 bahts.

Suan Somdet

This public park is situated on U-Thong Road to the southwest of the city. The area, full of plants referred to in Thai literature, houses many archaeological ruins.

Chankasem or Front Palace

On the bank of the Pasak River; this palace was built during the reign of King Maha Thammaraja, the 17th Ayutthayan monarch, for his son’s residence [King Naresuan]. Like other ruins, the palace was destroyed by the Burmese and left unrepaired for a long time. King Rama IV of the present Chakri dynasty ordered reconstruction of this palace for use as a residence during his occasional visits to Ayutthaya. The palace is now a national museum displaying chinaware, ancient weapons, King Rama lV’s personal belongings for daily life, Buddha images, sculptures and votive tablets of different times. It is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.

Wat Suwandraram Ratchawarawihan

This temple located on U-Thong Road, southeast of the city. The mural paintings in The Ubosot depict the gathering deities and Jataka stories. The mural on the front wall shows a picture of Buddha subduing evil. Within the Wihara, there is a picture of the bravery of King Naresuan the Great, which is a masterpiece of several copies found in many places.

Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai

This pagoda is situated at the original site of the Rear Palace in the west of the city. It is a memorial to Somdet Phra Suriyothai, who was the royal consort of Phra Mahachakkraphat and the first heroine in Thai history. When the Burmese army intruded into the kingdom in 1548, Somdet Phra Suriyothai, clad in a warrior’s suit, interrupted the fighting between the king and Phrachao Prae of Burma and was cut to death.

Wat Lokayasutharam

This temple is adjacent to Wat Wora-Chettharam in the west of the city. It houses a large reclining Buddha image, made of brick and covered with plaster, approximately 29 metres long. Many large hexagonal pillar ruins near the image are believed to be the ruins of the ubosot.