Ayutthaya UNESCO World Heritage Site
Wat Maha That Ayutthaya
In 1970 UNESCO listed Ayutthaya Historical Park as a World Heritage Site
- As a World Heritage Site Ayutthaya is well worth a visit. There are 221 historical structures in ancient Ayutthaya and all have registered as World cultural sites worthy of distinction. The basis for the nomination was;
- '' In 1350, during the reign of the grandson of Rama the Strong (the true founder of the kingdom of Sukhothai), a Thai vassal revolted and obliged the king to make an oath of allegiance to him. He had himself crowned, taking the name Ramadhipati, and made Ayutthaya his capital, which thus became the second Siamese capital.
- The city was relatively close to the border with Cambodia because the new king wanted to make the Khmers his vassals. The new dynasty had to defend itself against numerous revolts and invasions and the Siamese state became, above all else, a military state.
- Regarding its cultural life, several distinct phases can be seen:
- the period between its foundation and the annexation of Sukhothai ( 1350-I 438 );
- the period of the great wars (1438-1628);
- the period of Westernization (1628-1733);
- and, before its destruction (1733 to the end of the 18th century).
- Initially, Ayutthaya art was a mixture of local traditions with strong influences from Sukhothai. It was only during the second period that a true “national” art was born, the product of diverse cultural influences.
- As the state opened up politically toward Europe in the 17th century, traces of Western culture began to appear. Once these new influences were assimilated, Siamese art entered a period of rich mannerism.
- The city was destroyed by the Burmese and today nothing remains but a few vestiges of the splendor that was Ayutthaya. The main architectural feature of the town was the '' prang ”, a reliquary tower which did not exist at Sukhothai.
- To compete with the old capital, the kings of Ayutthaya richly endowed the monasteries, which acquired gigantic proportions (Wat Mahathat, 14th-17th centuries; Wat Si Sanphet, 15th century, etc). Another feature of Ayutthaya art was the increased use of mural painting used to decorate all monuments, for example, the crypts of Wat Raj Burana.
- Today, the Site’s characteristic architecture of brick and stucco is devoid of its decoration and completely exposed to the elements. In 1967 the site was classed a historic park, but only part of it was proposed for inclusion on the World Heritage List. The Site bears excellent witness to the period of development of a true national Thai art.''