Cambodia's Temples at Angkor
Temples at Angkor
The ruins of the ancient city of Angkor, once the capital of the Khmer kingdom, have long been one of the world’s marvels, and now officially stand as one of the world’s seven wonders. Rightly so, as this breathtaking composite of hulking laterite and sandstone blocks remains the largest religious complex ever constructed. Brought into international renown in 1861 courtesy of the French naturalist Henri Mouhot, this wondrous collection of cities harbored deep within the Cambodian jungle stood as the revered religious site of the Khmers long before Mouhot proclaimed the discovery of their long mysterious location to the world.
Covering 96.6sq km (60 sq m) and including the intriguing remains of passageways, moats, temples and palaces that reflect centuries of painstaking construction, the Temples at Angkor are truly one of the most impressive sights in the world. As there are numerous sites to be visited, as well as a plethora of information to absorb about these majestic remains, allow ample time for complete exploration.
Amidst the most notorious, find Angkor Wat the eternal symbol of Cambodia, in which its 4 pronounced spires only introduce the elaborate design that makes this temple the pinnacle of Khmer architecture, and its ever captivating sunset glow makes it one of the best photographed. Nearby, wander through the massive Angkor Thom, or The Great City. Here, within its bounds measuring over a mile on one side, find the fantastic 45m central temple of Bayon, as well as the elaborate reliefs of the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of Elephants, and the Baphuon, an impressive stalwart form reflective of the temples’ original construction.
For those captivated by untouched remains, visit Ta Prohm, where archeologists have left this inspiring site in the green hands of nature. Find temple ramparts hugged in the thick roots of fig, banyan and kapok trees, and massive stones cleaved in two as a result of this dramatic envelope of vine and root. While the central collection at Angkor requires days of exploration, be sure to allot for the treasures that wait further outside the city.