The Old and New Cities of Sukhothai, Thailand

Sukothai Historical Park Situated in central Thailand, the historical city of Sukhothai was an integral part of the Kingdom of Siam during its golden epoch. Built largely between the 12th and 15th Century, all that remains of the empire are a series of ruins in the old historical park.

A new city was built in the late 19th Century, and is still in the process of development. But judging by the temples and statues, the modern city does not leave a lasting impression the ancient site does. Take a look at the evidence and let me know your thoughts.

Despite orthodox historians leading us to believe our ancient ancestors were primitive beings that lived in the so-called “dark-ages”, the ancient architects of Asia were experts in engineering, sculpture and art.

Capable of building impressive spiritual centres with an extensive infrastructure of water reservoirs, canals and roads, the old city features numerous stone statues of Buddha, 21 temples and over 200 pagodas.

Surrounded by a network of moats, each section of the old city still offers a historical charm. Despite many parts being almost completely dilapidated, enough of the old city remains standing for visitors to appreciate the advanced engineering works.

The most important section of the Sukhothai historical centre is Wat Mahathat you can see encased by the moat in the image above. Note how the towering centre-pieces dominate the old city and continue to cut an impressive skyline.

Giant seated Buddha, Sukothai

The largest Buddha statue in the Sukhothai historical park stands 30m tall. It used to be known as the talking Buddha following reports of worshippers reporting that the statue had spoken to them. However, a secret staircase was found round the back, easy enough for someone to hide behind and act as the voice of “the enlightened one.”

30m Tall Talking Buddha...

Note how precise and delicate the features are on this ancient statue of Buddha, and compare it to the modern statues of the gold-painted monks below, one looking somewhat smug rather than serene and the other flirting like a camp teenager.

Large Buddha HeadExample of modern statueCamp Buddha

The old city would have acted as a spiritual site for initiates of Buddhism. The largest temples such the Wat Mahatat had three structures all of which would have been used to inspire monks at specific stages of their learning.

Stupas built around the grounds also represent different levels of consciousness and were used to serve as a reminder to monks to help their learning process. Bear this in mind with temples today, many of which throughout Thailand appear more like fairgrounds than places of worship.

Sukothai Historical Park
Temple Complex in the Old City
A modern temple in Sukhothai New City
A modern temple in Sukhothai New City
Entrance to a temple in New City Sukhothai
Entrance to a temple in New City Sukhothai

Likewise, compare the intricate artwork of the ornate tribute to deities worshipped by the ancient Siamese compared with the Punch and Judy puppets of the modern temple.

Carving in Sukhothai old city

Idols in the new temple
Idols in the new temple

If the ancient were primitive as we are led to believe by modern history, what will be said about mankind of the 21st Century in 800 years time when future archaeologists unearth these monstrosities?

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