Ayutthaya was the second capital city of Siam after Sukhothai. The remains of the ancient city sit out of sight to the West of the train line. The city used to occupy an island which was carved out by the meeting point of the Chao Phraya and Pra Sak rivers.
Founded by the King Uthong, the city takes it’s name from the birthplace of Rama, the city Ayodhya in India. It served as Siam’s capital city for over four centuries, from 1351 to 1767, when it was raised to the ground by the Burmese army after a long siege.
Now a world UNESCO site, the surviving Wats, such as the Wat Chaiwatthanaram, give an idea of the previous splendour of the old capital of Siam.
The city of Ayuttaya helped harbour in the golden age of Thai culture. During this time Ayutthaya became a centre for world trade, thanks to its position between China, India, and the Malay Archipelago. The wealth the city generated went into grand building projects such as the canal system, and fine works of art. By 1700 it was estimated to be the largest city in the world with over 1 million inhabitants, and merchants came from regions as diverse as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France.
On a personal note, I love Ayutthaya Station.