A Prime Example of Thailand's Multi-Cultural Heritage
Kudee Jeen is one of the oldest living communities in today's Bangkok metropolitan area, dating back to the late Ayutthaya period. Here was where inbound merchant ships made their initial stops. After having spent weeks (or even months) weathering the open sea, these ships briefly anchored here to make repairs before proceeding upriver to the city of Ayutthaya.
The community's name originates from a small shrine built by the Chinese immigrants who were the first to take up residence in this area ("Kudee" means monk's dwelling, and "Jeen" means Chinese). Subsequently, immigrants from Europe and the Middle East also took up residence here as well as built their respective religious structures.
Today, "Kudee Jeen" neighbourhood is mostly populated by descendants of Portuguese settlers in Ayutthaya. After over two centuries of intermarriage, these descendants have lost much of their European features. However, they still hold on firmly to their ancestors' heritage. Catholicism thrives with the faith's sturdily anchored at the Church of Santa Cruz.
In adjacent neighbourhoods stand many structures of other religious faiths. Significant examples include: two Chinese shrines, one dedicated to Goddess Guanyin and the other to Guan Yu (a military diety); a mosque that is built in the likeness of a Thai Buddhist temple at the Kudi Khao community; and (not surprisingly) a number of Thai Buddhist temples, the best known of which are Wat Wat Prayunwongsawat and Wat Kalayanamit.
All of these neighbourhoods have lived in harmony for many centuries and is an excellent example of how people of different cultures and religious faiths can thrive as an integrated community.