Ayutthaya, the Early Chapter 1

News Update
*** This article was written after the my visits to Ayutthaya in March and August. It is scheduled to be    published in mid-October 2011.

The largest flood happened before publishing the article a few days. The Ayutthaya Historical Park and Ayutthaya city drowned. Cause damage to the UNESCO World Heritage sites is inevitable. After the crisis, I will post the news on the progress of the recovery. ***
 



More Than 400 Years of Prosperity and Wealth 

Siam Map, R.P. Placide 1686*
Ayutthaya was the capital of Thai during 14th - 18th Century.
History is divided into three periods; early; middle and late.
 
Ayutthaya accumulated knowledge, beauty, and wealth for the more than 417 years, although it was severely damaged by the war cannot be recovered back to the capital again, but still remains the value of history and culture until now.

Fast Facts (1350 - 1767 AD)
An estimated 200,000 people
12 km city wall, 99 gates and 22 bastions
More than 300 temples
More than 30 markets and floating markets

Location
It is surrounded by the Chao Phraya River, the Pa Sak and Lop Buri. The best location for fortification, maritime trade and rice cultivation is located in the central region of the country today.

Formerly “Ayodhya”
Ayutthaya, formerly known as Ayodhya, the city of Rama from the Ramayana, the literature has been influenced by the Brahmanism. Later, King Naresuan the savior of the independence from Burma in the first time changed its name to Ayutthaya which means "undefeated city".

Unlike Sukhothai which was paternalism, Ayutthaya took over the Devaraj (God-King) concept which influenced by Brahmanism via Ancient Khmer. The king was a divine incarnation of Vishnu. Ayutthaya was the slave society, commoners and the ruling class.

Ayutthaya Map, Jacques Nicolas Bellin 1764*
Floating City
Ayutthaya is designed to have water around them. Routes in the city linked by canals as the Venice of East.  As well as the early Rattanakosin, the floating city concept was adopted. Today, the canals transformed to roads or became shallow. A few canals remained such as Klong Tho, Klong Makam Rieng.

International Port
 Ayutthaya welcomed foreign influence as a trading port. Especially from China and India, as well as others, such as Portugal, Holland, France, Japan and Persia, that brought art, culture, language and beliefs to Ayutthaya.

Only the elite could only trade with other countries. The Chinese were executed instead. Thai society had a large number of Chinese citizens in this era. The most valuable property was commoners. For this reason, when win the war, to herd the people living in the kingdom to increase the number of citizens for labouring and paying taxes was a must. 

*Map Source: www.esnips.com

To be continued - Chapter 2

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