Reap and Angkor
The small town of Siem Reap has become a tourist
destination for only one reason. The temples of Angkor
Wat are among the world's most magnificent historical
monuments. Angkor Wat's archaeological
importance and breathtaking impact on the visitor puts it in a class
with sites like the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza and Machu Pichu.
Angkor Wat, Bayon and the other ruins are still unspoiled by commercialism
Angkor, is only a few kilometres to the north
of the town of Siem Reap.It is indisputably the most impressive,
most enormous, most famous and
most important attraction not only in Cambodia,
but in all of Southeast Asia, and perhaps even in all of Asia.
In its size and grandeur Angkor is best compared
to the Pyramids of Egypt. But Angkor is far more
than collection of huge structures. Despite its enormous dimensions,
it is the exquisite emphasis in detail like the
Notre Dame of Paris and the intricate ancient
art of architecture and sculpturing that
places this site on the level of the Acropolis
This is where the old capital of the Khmer
kingdoms of Cambodia settled and built their empires. Angkor,
is the site of Hindu and Buddhist temple
complexes known as Angkor Thom and Angkor
Each king of the Khmer dynasty built his own temple
based on the Hindu concept of the god-king; with
himself depicted as the deity.
King Suryavarman II, who reigned
from 1113 AD to 1150 built Angkor Wat. His intention
was for the temple to present him as the incarnation of
Faced with invasion by the kingdom of Champa, faith
was no longer held in the power of the Hindu gods to protect and
for this reason Angkor Wat may well have been the downfall of the
King Jayavarman VII, who reigned from 1181
AD until the year 1219 and overthrew the Champa, was a Mahayana
Buddhist. His legacy was to create a vast monument to the
north of Angkor Wat.
Angkor Thom was created
with Buddhist cosmology in mind and was built to
surpass Angkor Wat. The large face likeness on the Bayon represent
both Buddha and the king himself.
defaced the structures by destroying earlier effigies and placing
their own in Hindu inspired iconoclasm.
In the year 1431 the Thais invaded and devastated
the area, but the ruins Angkor Wat remains a centre of Buddhist
During the 1860's the French re-discovered the ruins and made extensive
research and reclamation of the Angkor area. Since then looting
and civil wars have added to the neglect and continued deterioration
of the monuments.
Thom and Bayon
and Small Circuits