Founded in 1350 at the head of the Gulf of Siam, Ayutthaya became the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. This important centre of culture, commerce and global diplomacy once exchanged ambassadors with countries as far away as the French court at Versailles. It was abandoned after it was destroyed by an invading army in the 18th century. Today the ruins of all the most important buildings have been consolidated, repaired and sometimes reconstructed. The tall prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic buddhist monasteries provide only a glimpse of the city’s past glory and the splendour of its architecture.