Sukhothai: Thailand's roots

"There are fish in the water and rice in the fields. The king does not tax its citizens to use the roads. The people transported freely to sell their cattle or ride their horses to trade. Whoever wants to sell elephants, so does. He who wishes to trade with horses, so does and you want to trade in gold and silver, is free to do so .... When the sovereign people see the rice, do not claim it for himself, and when he sees the wealth of others, feels no greed ... "

- Rama "strong", the second king of Sukhothai

No one can understand very well the history, art and religious evolution without talking about Sukhothai Thailand. The ruins of the ancient capital whose name means "the dawn of happiness" are the shadow of a kingdom that prevailed in much of the country's current Northern Thai and Laos for just under a hundred and fifty years, until the fall of the city in the hands of neighboring Ayutthaya. In this short time, Sukhothai became the visible head of the first rule of Siam and among its vestiges can appreciate the masterpieces of architecture in this style. Historical Park, World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is located halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai and is a great stop between the two cities for a visit of one or two days.

                                                          The temple of Wat Si Sawai.

They are at the beginning of the twelfth century and while in our beloved and decadent Europe we carry sticks us in the mists of time (which amounts to the Middle Ages), on this side of the world, Thai tribes ("free men ") tired of the cold, mountains, crop failures and famine in the area of ​​Yunnan (Province of China today), they decide to pull south for the sun and the fertile plains of northern Siam controlled by the Khmer empire. The tribes established in the area and even enjoy a wide independence by the Khmer empire, newcomers are not very happy with their new kings because of some fairly prohibitive taxes, so that by 1238, Sri Intraditya, one of the Thai princes, decides to marry a noble kingdom of Angkor, unify the tribes, the Khmer send him packing, thus creating the first Siamese kingdom, the kingdom of Sukhothai.

And so we come to the strong Rama. His name, like that of a large number of Thai kings later, the protagonist of the story comes from Hindu epic, the Ramayana. During his twenty-year reign little empire grew to the present border with Malaysia, conquering parts of Burma and Laos today. Deeply Buddhist religion as Rama established this mandatory in his kingdom and undertook most of the buildings we see today only ruins. Besides this, Rama established a bureaucratic system and most importantly: according to tradition, created the Thai alphabet based on Khmer.

Mahatat Wat is the area with the highest number of ruins. Its name translates as "the temple of the great relic".

This is very influential because well, during the reign of Rama and later allowed a large collection of written documents tell us the life of the city and empire, the religious, wars, revolts and dynastic conflicts . Therefore also considered to Sukhothai the root of the country which is now Thailand. Before creating and height of this kingdom, Thai chronicles were mere lists of kings or legendary tales without historical basis and almost always without estimated date of the event. The following realms adopt as its own alphabet created by Rama has come with slight modifications to the present day.

After the death of Rama, his son would succeed him on the throne but could not control the reins of the state and begin to decline Sukhothai, dismantling itself into small feudal states very warlike together, ending in 1438 succumbed to the power of its southern neighbor, Ayutthaya.

The ruins of the city are located twelve kilometers from the modern town of the same name and is very common to visit a bike, walk and take some time to go to the more remote temples. They are divided into three zones to be paid separately but from certain times and no cover charge. The cost for the main zone are hundred Baht (two and a half euros to change) plus another ten for the bike. Both in modern Sukhothai as in the area of ​​the ruins are a multitude of accommodation to suit all budgets, but the modern city is a logical place for the night because the area of ​​the ruins, from six o'clock in the afternoon is half dead.