1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ayuthia
|←Ayuntamiento||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 3
|Azaïs, Pierre Hyacinthe→|
|See also Ayutthaya (city) on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
AYUTHIA, a city of Siam, now known to the Siamese as Krung Kao or "the Old Capital," situated in 100° 32′ E., 14° 21′ N. Pop. about 10,000. The river Me Nam, broken up into a network of creeks, here surrounds a large island upon which stand the ruins of the famous city which was for more than four centuries the capital of Siam. The bulk of the inhabitants live in the floating houses characteristic of lower Siam, using as thoroughfares the creeks to the edges of which the houses are moored. The ruins of the old city are of great archaeological interest, as are the relics, of which a large collection is housed in the local museum. Outside the town is an ancient masonry enclosure for the capture of elephants, which is still periodically used. Ayuthia is on the northern main line of the state railways, 42 m. from Bangkok. Great quantities of paddi are annually sent by river and rail to Bangkok, in return for which cloth and other goods are imported to supply the wants of the agriculturist peasantry. There is no other trade. Ayuthia is the chief town of one of the richest agricultural provincial divisions of Siam and is the headquarters of a high commissioner. The government offices occupy spacious buildings, once a royal summer retreat; the government is that of an ordinary provincial division (Monton).
Historically Ayuthia is the most interesting spot in Siam. Among the innumerable ruins may be seen those of palaces, pagodas, churches and fortifications, the departed glories of which are recorded in the writings of the early European travellers who first brought Siam within the knowledge of the West, and laid the foundations of the present foreign intercourse and trade. The town was twice destroyed by the Burmese, once in 1555 and again in 1767, and from the date of the second destruction it ceased to be the capital of the country.