The Kingdom of Siam
From 1350 to 1767, Ayutthaya served as the country’s capital and center of the Thai government. Standing in the center of Ayutthaya’s historic ruins, I can imagine how majestic this sprawling plot of land once was. The former capital covered 27 square miles of land, the equivalent of 64 major league baseball stadiums!
Prior Ayutthaya’s, the Kingdom of Sukhothai was the center of Thai culture and power. Established in 1238, the Sukhothai Kingdom was the first capital of ancient Siam. Siam eventually became known as modern-day Thailand. Both cities – Ayutthaya and Sukhothai – now stand as historic sites. To think, at one time, over a million people roamed these worn-down streets, and now I walk them practically alone.
For centuries, Burmese forces were a constant threat in the area. In 1767, they attacked and destroyed much of Ayutthaya. After that, the Thai moved their government further south along the Chao Phraya River to current-day Bangkok.
Today, Thailand’s government is housed at the Grand Palace complex, which was built in 1782. Visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok feels a little like deja-vu! It’s as if someone restored the dome-shaped chedis of Ayutthaya and covered them in gold paint and jeweled tiles. Some of the architectural designs were inspired by the ornate structures within the former capital. I, for one, definitely see the connection!