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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Angkor Temples – Ruins of the Khmer Empire
Joanna James Joanna James
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Angkor Temples – Ruins of the Khmer Empire

Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO world heritage which was built during the 9th-13th century AD, also called the Khmer Empire. Here are some of the sites that you should visit in the park.


Ak Yom

Located close to the West Baray reservoir the Ak Yom are the ruins of a temple made of bricks and sandstone whose origins can be traced back to the 8th century. It is the oldest known example of the "temple-mountain" design which was a popular design used for many of temples built during the Angkorian era like the Angkor Wat. As per the inscriptions, a temple dedicated to the Hindu 'god of the depths' was located in the same place previously.


Angkor Thom

The Angkor Thom which is also known as the Big Angkor was the last capital of the Angkorian empire. The city spanned an area of 9km2 and was surrounded by a wall 8 meters high and 3km2 long. After Angor Thom was recaptured by Jayavarman VII in 1811 from its Cham invaders he started work on making Angkor Thom his new capital city. He started by renovating Phimeanakas and Baphuon and then created a city around them. He then added an outer wall around the city and proceeded to build some of Angkor's most beautiful temples and his state-temple, Bayon which was situated in the middle of the city. The city has 5 gates, one for each direction which is all adorned with giant heads and the victory gate which leads to the Royal Palace grounds.


Bat Chum

The Bat Chum is a structure consisting 3 brick towers set on 3 platforms. It is a Buddhist temple which was built when Hinduism dominated Cambodia. The Buddhist inscriptions on the doorway while praising the architect of the temple (Who was also famous for also designing the Pre Rup and East Mebon) warn the locals to keep their elephants away from the temple similar to the modern "keep of the grass" signs.


Banteay Srey

Banteay Srey which roughly translates to 'citadel of the women,' was a temple that was discovered in 1914 by French archaeologists. Its construction was started by a Brahmin counsellor under the orders of king Rajendravarman and was continued by King Jayavarman V. The walls which are covered with beautiful, deep and intricate carvings and some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art. Although the temple is relatively small in size the elaborate decorations and pink sandstone is a sight to behold.
Located 38 kilometres away from most of the luxury hotels in Siem Reap the Banteay Srey temple area closes 5 PM and the best time to enjoy the temples colours are before 10.30 AM or after 2 PM. Even though drivers can be hired to make the trip through resorts like Anantara Angkor Resort they usually charge more than their regular rate to visit Banteay Srey, but the extra time, effort and cost are well worth it!


Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a giant three-tiered pyramid surrounded by five towers which are each 65 meters in height and are all resemble lotuses in shape. Angkor Wat is the main attraction of any tour of the temples of Angkor because of its architectural and artistic beauty.

Suryavarman II constructed the Angor Wat in the "temple-mountain" form as a dedication to the Hindu God Vishnu during the peak of the Khmer's military and political dominance of the region and it served as his state temple.