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HomeNews and travel articlesWhat is Angkor Wat?

What is Angkor Wat?

16 November, 2017
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Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is an iconic temple located in northern Cambodia, close to the city of Siem Reap.

The temple, which has become synonymous with Cambodia, is the country’s main attraction and a splendid example of the unsurpassed architectural style of the Khmer Empire.

Angkor is considered to be one of South-east Asia’s most important archaeological sites.

And the temple is nothing short of breathtaking.

Angkor Wat’s surroundings

Angkor wats surroundings

The area around Angkor Wat is stunningly beautiful.

It consists of several different temples, including the Bayon Temple, known for its 216 smiling faces. In addition, you will find Angkor Thom, the capital of the Khmer Empire in the 12th–14th centuries, which is located north of Angkor Wat.

The scenery around Angkor Wat is unique. The formations of the temple are mirrored in the beautiful moat encircling the temple.

The tallest tower of the temple is a striking 55 m tall. Beautiful trees frame the complex, and the sky forms a contrasting backdrop to the surroundings.

Symmetry and magnificence are the key words of the temple complex, which was built by King Suryvarman II.

Angkor Wat’s history

Inscriptions

Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century.

The name means “the city of temples” in Khmer, and Angkor Wat was the largest temple in the Khmer Empire, which was built during the reign of King Suryvarman II. Construction of the ever-unfinished temple complex is thought to have ceased upon the death of Suryvarman II.

The Khmer Empire fell in the 15th century, but its history lives on forever in Angkor Wat’s masterfully built walls with their countless inscriptions.

The construction of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a unique architectural masterpiece.

It took 37 years to build and required the labour of 6,000 elephants and 300,000 men. It was built by hand as there were no machines in the 12th century.

Originally built for the Hindus and dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu, in the 13th century, it passed over to the Buddhists.

In 1992, Angkor Wat became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the masterful piece of Khmer art that Angkor Wat is – and second to none at that.

Today, Angkor Wat has become synonymous with Cambodia.

Three fun facts about Angkor

Ta Prohm temple

Angkor offers a number of quirky little facts.

  • Angkor Wat is depicted on the Cambodian flag. There are only two countries in the world that have a picture of a national monument on their flag: Cambodia and Afghanistan.
  • Normally, temples face east. Angkor Wat, however, faces west, which is synonymous with death. People today say that Angkor Wat faces the sunset.
  • In 2001, the film company Paramount Pictures paid $10,000 per day to film for the movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in the Ta Prohm Temple.

If you have been fascinated by the architectural masterpiece, you can visit the temple complex on one of our fairytale tours to Cambodia!

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