Ayutthaya

Following the Glorious History of Ayutthaya and the International Trade Community in the mid- Ayutthaya period

   

The ruins and historic sites of many temples within the vicinity of the historical city of Ayutthaya, which has since been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, cover the whole of Ko Mueang and its outlying areas. The greatness of this historical city owed much to the culmination of wisdom that had been passed down over the centuries, so that it was unique for the city to hand down its glory from generation to generation. Furthermore, it is a city of culture where people live to the present day.

Ayutthaya entered a golden age as a true kingdom following the political and administrative revolution of the reign of King Borommatrailokkanat (1448 – 1488). With its centralised power, there was a clear division of duties, a distinct separation between the military and civil services. The relationship between the people of the kingdom and its rulers was defined by a feudal system.

The stability of the city and its strategically significant location were both important factors in the rise of Ayutthaya as an international hub that linked the East to the West. The Chao Phraya River became a major life-line as a route to the world outside the kingdom. Forest things were important goods traded among foreign merchants. These elements combined to make Ayutthaya crowded with markets and areas of trade. There was a constant stream of foreigners from around the world passing through, or making their homes there. It quickly became a melting pot for many nationalities that, despite their differences, co-existed with ease.

One prominent piece of evidence that attests to Ayutthaya’s active trade is a Statement of Luang Pradu Nai Song Tham or the description of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya’s landscape. There were many markets on Ko Mueang, each peddling different wares. A large majority of the traders in these markets were Chinese. Customers looking for Chinese sweets would be directed to “Talad Khanom Jeen”. “Talat Ban Chin” was located at the mouth of Khlong Khun Lakhon Chai and there was a brothel at the back of the market.

“Talat Yai Thai Phra Nakhon” was a large market that sold brass, white gold and ceramic items while “Talat Chi Kun” was a Muslim market with halal food. If one was in need of household items like brooms, fans or mats, those could be found at “Talat Na Wat Mahathat”. Forest and sea things as well as imported items were also available at “Talat Nam Won Bang Kacha”, which was situated close to a foreign trade port. If you find it difficult to imagine what the markets of this period were truly like, you need only take a look at the mural paintings at Wat Choeng Tha, where you can compare the markets of then to those of today.

The achievements of the mid-Ayutthaya period are reflected in its art; such as, the paintings, sculptures, architecture and fine art that were created in honour of Buddhism. They are singularly beautiful and truly represent the city’s past splendour.

The glorious tale of this once past capital is etched onto the history of the world through the surviving ruins, sites and antiquities preserved at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, as well as the settlements of its people, including the foreign villages outlying Ko Mueang to the south.