Reuters

The ancient temples of Ayutthaya Historical Park were severely weakened by the latest round of floods, and could collapse if nothing is done

We’ve had one eye turned to India ever since news was released on the  impending collapse of the Taj Mahal. But yet another endangered UNESCO World Heritage site has caught our attention: the ancient Thai temples of Ayutthaya Historical Park, which have survived centuries of severe tropical weather, have been severely weakened by the floods that have recently devastated the country.

Ayutthaya Historical Park was founded around 1350 as one of the capitals of the old kingdom of Siam. In its glory days, Ayutthaya was home to over 400 temples fitted with stunning Buddha statues before it fell to Burmese invaders in the 18th century. Though the ruins were painstakingly restored, the severe weather this past July sent an unprecedented deluge of water sweeping through much of central and northern Thailand, sustaining heavy damage to the architecture and the earthen foundation on which it stands. Still waiting for water levels to recede before evaluating the full extent of the damage, park officials have estimated at least $20 million needed for repairs and fear that the monuments will sink or even collapse if left unaided, as AFP reports.

For months now, Thais have been struggling to wait out a prolonged national tragedy. The natural disaster has left more than 600 dead and millions homeless, and it has undoubtedly pushed the nation’s architecture to its very limits. As Thailand waits patiently for its cities to reemerge from the waters, we are left with surreal images of whole neighborhoods taking residence in concrete infrastructure and colossal Buddha sculptures almost fully submerged and seemingly gasping for breath.

This article originally appeared at Architizer.com, an Atlantic partner site. Photo credit: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  2. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Life

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  3. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

  4. photo: San Francisco skyline
    Equity

    Would Capping Office Space Ease San Francisco’s Housing Crunch?

    Proposition E would put a moratorium on new commercial real estate if affordable housing goals aren’t met. But critics aren’t convinced it would be effective.   

  5. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

×