Located in ancient Ayutthaya, once capital city of the Siamese kingdom and now regarded as the historical center of Thailand, this buddhist UNESCO world heritage temple on the banks of the Chao-Praya makes a rich cultural asset of the country.
The huge Khmer style complex was established in 1630 and shows references of the world famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. While some consider the Siamese victory over the Khmer the reason for its construction, other theories claim that the monastery has been built by King Prasatthong in order to honor his mother.
The site is characterized by a 35m high central tower (Prang) surrounded by 4 smaller Prangs that represent the four continents inhabited by humans regarded from the Buddhist cosmology view. Another 8 smaller chapels - so called Chedis - frame the site. The outside of the red brick building is garnished with sculptures, narrating the life of Buddha in relief work, whereas the inside walls of the Chaiwatthanaram temple are adorned with paintings.
Though the Wat has been damaged and degraded during a Burmese attack in the late 1700’s, it was not until 1987 when restoration of the temple area was implemented.
Located so close to the stream of the Chao-Praya river and therefore consistently threatened by the danger of flooding, the UNESCO has fused with the Thai Fine Arts Department in order to preserve the cultural heritage of Wat Chaiwatthanaram and maintain safety and accessibility.