Ayuthaya (or Ayutthaya) is a city in Thailand which was the capital of an important kingdom in Siam from the early fifteenth until the late eighteenth century. It is located on an island a few days journey up the Chao Phraya river from its mouth in the gulf of Siam, and is the site of peaceful and beautiful red brick ruins. Ayuthaya was a major power in Southeast Asian politics, from its establishment in 1350 by King U-Thong (Ramathibodi I) until its fall to the Burmese in 1767, Ayutthaya was Thailand's capital and home to 33 kings and numerous dynasties. At its zenith and until the mid-18th century, Ayutthaya was a majestic city with three palaces and 400 splendid temples on an island threaded by canals -- a site that mightily impressed European visitors.Then, in 1767, after a 15-month siege, the town was destroyed by the Burmese and today there are but groups of crumbling ruins and rows of headless Buddhas where once an empire thrived. The temple compounds are still awe-inspiring even in disrepair and a visit here is memorable and a good beginning for those drawn to the relics of history. (Fun note: don't miss the Buddha head lodged in the tree trunk at Wat Mahatat, quite unique).The architecture of Ayutthaya is a fascinating mix of Khmer, or ancient Cambodian style, and early Sukhothai style. Cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to Sukhothai. If you've just arrived and have confined your stay to Bangkok, you might note similarities with the riverside Wat Arun, an 18th-century structure that was built in the so-called Ayutthaya style, a melding of Sukhothai Buddhist influences and Hindu-inspired Khmer motifs.