Ayutthaya Museums In Ayutthaya Historical Park
- There are two National Museums in Ayutthaya which are important locations to visit. These are Chan Kasem National Museum which is valuable for its buildings as well as the exhibits and Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
- In addition there are other museums also worthy of a visit time permitting. These are Ayutthaya Historical Center and the three memorial structures, houseboat, ancient house and monument to the Elder Statesman of Thailand, Pridi Banomyong who was honored by UNESCO as an Eminent Personality in 2000.
- Other specialist subject museums in Ayutthaya include, The Japanese Village, The Portuguese Village, The French Mission Site and the Dutch Village.
- Outside of Ayutthaya the Museums with good collections of Ayutthaya period art work include The National Museum Bangkok.
Chan Kasem National Museum Ayutthaya
- Chan Kasem National Museum is very important for two reasons. Apart from housing a National collection of exhibits it also is historically and architecturally important.
- The Museum is a collection of buildings enclosed by a wall and was originally built in 1577 for King Naresuan when he was then Prince Naresuan ruling Phitsanulok as heir apparent. It was made of sandelwood as was the fashion then for royalty. When first constructed it was called Chan Palace, was ruined in 1767 and rebuilt in the reign of Rama IV then also renamed, Chan Kasem.
- The significant buildings to see are the Pisai Salayalak Throne Hall, The Pavilion, Phiman Rataya Throne and the administration building.
- Many famous people have lived here. These include, King Naresuan, King Narai, King Sua, King Thai Sa, King Boromakot and subsequent Kings of the post 1767 period, including Rama IV.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum Ayutthaya
- Chao Sam Phraya National Museum is the most significant Museum for seeing Ayutthaya period objects of art. There are three buildings to visit. The Sam Chao Phraya building exhibits artifacts from the Ayutthaya period.
- On the ground floor is exhibited (1) a huge U Thong style bronze, (2) cabinets containing various Buddha images from Wat Ratchaburana and Phra Mongkhon Bophit, (3) stucco works from Wat Maha That, (4) a Dvaravati period stone Buddha from Nakhon Pathom brought to Ayutthaya in that period, (5) wood carvings from Wat Phra Si Sanphet, (6) door panels, (7) a royal barge Garuda figurehead and others in Ayutthaya period popular characters.
- On the first floor above is an exhibit of the gold artifacts from Wat Maha That, gold and jewel exhibits from Wat Ratchaburana (both exhibitions being at either end of the upper floor) and numerous other exhibits from the period.
Yamada Nagamasa Ship Drawing in Japanese Village Museum
Japanese Village Ayutthaya
- The Japanese village museum at Ayutthaya is popular with Japanese tourists. However its presence is a reminder for all of the diverse ethnic nature of ancient Ayutthaya as an international city for its time. Similarly the role of the Japanese makes colorful history.
- Various Ayutthaya Kings employed the service of Japanese samuri to act as personal body guards and Ayutthaya armies often employed Japanese mercenaries to fight the Burmese. The most famous member of the Japanese community was Yamada Nagamasa. There is a monument to him here in the form of a bronze statue.
- The Japanese came to Ayutthaya to settle in the reign of King Maha Thammarach after 1589. The final form of the Japanese settlement extended for one kilometer along the Chao Phraya River on the south east bank and extended 500 meters back. The first settlement consisted of a few whare houses to store and collect exports goods to be shipped to Japan. It was surrounded by three canals and the River and up to 1,500 people are reported to have lived here at the peak of its existence.
- Japanese settlement existed for trade, for the provision of men of war (many who had lost wars in Japan), and by the Japanese Christians in Japan to escape persecution.
- Japanese settlement declined after 1633 when Japan closed its frontiers to international trade and forbid the return of Japanese who had left Japan to become expatriates. Some trade did continue with a smaller Japanese community and eventually they became assimilated into the society. The Christian wife of Constantine Phaulkon, Marie Guimard was half Japanese and half Portuguese.
- Today there is not much to see of the original Japanese village which was totally destroyed by the Burmese army. However the location on the river gives one a good sense of history and for Japanese visitors there is a memorial to the settlement in Japanese.
- Excavations at the site revealed wooden post with Japanese inscription, a Japanese Bodhisattva figurine and canon balls. The Thai- Japanese Association was instrumental in procuring the purchase of the site and the open museum complex as it is today.
Inside Immaculate Concepcion Church in Portuguese Village
French Catholic Church in Ayutthaya