How does a modern city identify with the ruins from its past? Ayutthaya presents an implicit dilemma. On the one hand, the city is moving into the future. Factories manufacture electronic goods, mechanical parts, and a variety of textiles. Businesses and shopping malls glisten with urban energy. Motor traffic clogs city arteries as metal vehicles speed toward unknown destinations, and electrical lines now stretch out like tentacles from house to house.

In sharp contrast are the remnants of Ayutthaya's past. Ancient towers peek out behind concrete houses, schoolyards, government offices, and overgrown jungles. Bell-shaped reliquaries echoed as dots on the horizons and crumbled fortresses hint of unsuccessful defence. These secluded structures reach forth like architectural skeletons, seductive and signalling an antiqued yesteryear. Ayutthaya is reminded of its ancient past no matter how much its residents look toward their future.

Yet, there is a catch when recalling Ayutthaya's past. Most of the city's rich history has been destroyed, unwritten, or forgotten. Burmese invaders partially destroyed Ayutthaya's legacy in 1767 CE, along with its archives of historical records. The majority of the ancient population was forced into captivity and removed, and those lucky enough to survive migrated away. The remaining walls were peeled away brick by brick to construct and finance the new capital in Bangkok. When people eventually returned to reclaim Ayutthaya, it had become a different city.

New neighbourhoods sprung up around the ruins, and new names and stories were created to explain them. Many temples had fallen into neglect, and swamps swelled around them. Others hid nestled in trees and shrubbery for generations. Some were picked clean by looters during the decades that followed.

As a result, modern residents have an awkward relationship with the architectural ghosts of the fallen city. Residents drive by ancient temples daily without knowing they are there or even bothering to learn their names. Many Thais take them for granted because they are empty and so commonplace. Still, modern citizens have inherited a trick question: how can they read the bones of the city's past so that the current population can take pride and grow more appropriately?

This website is an attempt to answer this question. Its goal is to collect the maximum information on the old sites, roads and waterways and catalogue, map and study them. In this process, we hope to spark vital interest is into the preservation of the ancient sites and to bring the community together to increase awareness of their cultural value.

Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya, April 2009.