Ayutthaya’s historical sites have been heavily affected by recent flooding in Thailand. Thailand’s Ministry of Culture initially sought the budget of Bt1.4 billion baht (about US$46 million ) from the cabinet to restore Ayutthaya’s historical sites, damaged by months-long flooding, Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said on Tuesday.

The minister said that following a survey by specialists from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) of historical sites in Ayutthaya, Thailand’s 600-year old former capital, the team found damage from flooding such as flaking, mildew stain and efflorescence on murals particularly at the Choeng Tha Temple where the damage is critical.

Structures of many historic buildings have also been affected such as at the Ayothaya Temple, which needs a revamp to rebuild its structure.

Tourist are back in the site of Ayutthaya, now 90% dry
Tourist are back in the site of Ayutthaya, now 90% dry

The ministry also has an initiative to revive the moat around the city as in the old days, to act as a flood prevention barrier for the city.

On Dec 18, Thai and Japanese experts will conduct another survey to assess the damage on historical sites following the flooding.

The ministry will also invite the private sector and other agencies to finance the restoration after the Finance Ministry announces tax incentives.  (MCOT online news)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently held the “Ayutthaya Cleaning Day” event as part of its “Beautiful Thailand” campaign to restore Thai tourism following the country’s recent flood. The event, which took place on 4 December 2011, also commemorated HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 84th birthday.

Thousands of volunteers visited Ayutthaya to lend a hand in cleaning up and landscaping the city, with strong support from both the public and private sectors in the tourism industry. Ayutthaya, Thailand’s ancient capital, is known globally for its UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra recently visited Ayutthaya
Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra recently visited Ayutthaya, and offered respect to king Uthong memorial

The “Ayutthaya Cleaning Day” was one of many initiatives to ensure the city is ready to welcome back visitors with a warm heart. Visitors can explore almost all of the World Heritage Site and the other ancient ruins spread throughout the city. All transportation is operating as per normal and most services and activities for tourists are available as per usual; such as bicycling, elephant rides, guided tours, restaurants, and accommodation. Tourists from all over the world are now coming to the city to enjoy immersing themselves in Thailand’s past.

“Tourism plays an important role in the livelihood of Ayutthaya. Other than Wat Chai Wattanaram, which is still being carefully drained, all tourist attractions in Ayutthaya are open to visitors. We are confident that tourists who travel to Ayutthaya, about an hour’s drive from Bangkok, will find it as charming and authentic as ever,”

said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni.

According to the Ministry of Culture’s Fine Arts Department, most of Ayutthaya’s ancient ruins remain strong and intact. The restoration of historical sites affected by the flood is underway under the guidance of UNESCO, which recommended slowly pumping water out of some of the ruins; such as, Wat Chai Wattanaram to preserve their structural integrity.

In 2010, Ayutthaya welcomed 2.3 million visitors comprising 2.1 million one-day trippers and 200,000 who stayed overnight. These mainly came from Japan, China, and European countries.

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