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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 23, 2020
Headline for 10 Interesting Facts About Angkor Wat
Joanna James Joanna James
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10 Interesting Facts About Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is one of the world's largest religious structures and for that very reason occupying the top slots of the bucket lists of all travel enthusiasts alike. If this is not interesting enough, here are 10 interesting facts about Angkor Wat and why it is one of the must-see travel destinations.


Construction Wonder

It took as long as 35 years to build this monument with the aid of 1000 elephants and 300,000 labourers. Covering an area of 208 hectares, five million tons of sandstone has been used to build this religious monument, which was quarried from Phnom Kulen mountain which is over 50 km away.


Top Tourist Attraction

It attracts over 2 million visitors every year, which has led to the imposition of limits on the number of visitors allowed at different times of the year. According to Angkor Enterprise it has generated more than 100 million dollars in revenue from the tourist visits in 2018 and is without a doubt one of the biggest sources of income for Cambodia. Located around five miles north of Siem Reap, there are a number of hotels for tourists within close proximity to the temple such as Anantara Angkor Resort, which is a grand and beautiful luxury hotel in Siem Reap.


Special Place of Worship

The temple is special in its representation of two religions, one of the only religious monuments to be a place of worship for two different religions. Having being built for the Hindu religion as a gift to god Vishnu, it has been converted into a Buddhist temple in the 13th century.


Architectural Marvel

The architecture of the temple is fascinating with a lot of attention to detail. An 800-meter-long stretch of carvings that depict the historical events is found outside the central temple. The temple is believed to represent Mount Meru which is home of the gods and lord of Brahma according to Hindu faith. The five towers are representations of the five peaks of the mountain while the walls and moat below are a recreation of the surrounding mountains and the sea.


Top Filming Destination

Angkor Wat has become a famous place for filming of movies such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider for which Paramount pictures paid 10,000 dollars a day. The temple has served as a film location for other movies such as Baraka, In the Mood for Love and Living in the Age of Airplanes.


Significance of Angkor Wat

Prior to the 16th century the temple was known as Pisnulok which was the title of Khmer King Suryavarman II who built it. Its current name Angkor Wat translates to temple city in the Khmer language as a reference to its purpose as the state temple and political centre for which it was built.


UNESCO World Heritage

It was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1992 by UNESCO in recognition for its historical importance and an effort to preserve it and protect from international damage.


Breaking Traditions

The temple is built facing the West which is uncommon to other temples in the region which are built facing the East. The West is believed to be associated with death, making the assumption that it was used as a tomb for funerals. However, in recent years this has made the evening a popular time of visit for tourists to witness the magical sunset from the temple.


Icon of Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a part of the Cambodian flag representing its significance to the country. The only two countries with national monuments if their flags are Cambodia and Afghanistan. Moreover, the temple is illustrated in the riel notes, the currency of Cambodia.


Dedication to Lord Vishnu

Suryavarman II the king who built the temple dedicated the temple to Lord Vishnu breaking the tradition of predecessors who practised Shaivism that, a religion that worshipped Lord Shiva.