Explore the temples of Angkor
Explore the legendary City of Temples, a thousand-year-old living monument and one of the
Explore the legendary City of Temples, a thousand-year-old living monument and one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders.
The city of Angkor served as the royal centre from which a dynasty of Khmer kings ruled one of the largest, most prosperous, and most sophisticated kingdoms in the history of Southeast Asia. From the last decade of the 9th century, when King Yashovarman I made Angkor his place of residence, until the early years of the 13th century, the kings of Angkor ruled over a territory that extended from the tip of the Indochinese Peninsula northward to modern Yunnan province, China, and from Vietnam westward toward the Bay of Bengal. During this entire period, these rulers utilized the vast resources of labour and wealth at their disposal to carry out a series of prodigious construction projects designed to glorify both themselves, their gods, and their capital city. After the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1181–c. 1220), the power and vitality of the kingdom gradually waned until finally, after the armies of the Tai state of Ayutthaya (Ayudhia) captured and sacked Angkor in 1431, the city was partially abandoned.
Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. It extends over approximately 400 square kilometres and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes. For several centuries Angkor was the centre of the Khmer Kingdom. With impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans, and large water reservoirs, the site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilization. Temples such as Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Preah Khan, and Ta Prohm, exemplars of Khmer architecture, are closely linked to their geographical context as well as being imbued with symbolic significance. The architecture and layout of the successive capitals bear witness to a high level of social order and ranking within the Khmer Empire. Angkor is, therefore, a major site exemplifying cultural, religious, and symbolic values, as well as containing high architectural, archaeological, and artistic significance.