See Angkor Wat, Cambodia (UNESCO site)
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The temples of Angkor, Cambodia were built by the Khmer civilization between the 9th and the 15th centuries. The remaining structures display one of man’s most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. The Khmer Kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China then to the Bay of Bengal from Angkor. The more than 100 stone structures one sees at Angkor today are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis that once included many other buildings such as palaces, public buildings and homes built of wood that have long since decayed and disappeared. The Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent relics tucked into a heavily forested area.
Angkor Wat (Wat denotes “capital temple”) was developed during the early years of the 12th century by Suryavaram II in the classic Khmer architectural style. The Temple honors the Hindu god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of the Hindu structure of the universe. It consists of an enormous building symbolizing the mythical Mt. Meru. Angkor Wat’s five nested rectangular walls and moats are thought to represent chains of mountains and the ocean that is the universe. The shorter dimensions of the vast compound are precisely aligned along a north-south axis, while the east-west axis has been deliberately diverted 0.75 degrees south of east and north of west, reasoned to give the faithful a three day anticipation of the spring equinox. Although originally built as a place of worship for those of Hindu faith, the complex switched to a religious place for those followers of Theravada Buddhism before the end of the 15th century.
Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has become the symbol of Cambodia. The Khmer civilization was highly evolved and displayed a refined taste for art. The walls of the temple speak about the lives and customs of the citizens in the reliefs carved into the walls which includes more than 300 nymphs in at least 30 different styles.
A visit to Angkor, Cambodia and the iconic Angkor Wat is best planned for a multiple day excursion. The Archaeological Park is located about 20 minutes from Siem Reap by car or "Tik Tuk", a hired motorbike with a driver. Siem Reap has its own international airport, the second largest in Cambodia. Every type of service sought by tourists is available in Siem Reap including a broad selection of accommodations, restaurants, shopping and attractions.
Your dream of visiting an iconic temple complex that was the center of an ancient civilization to admire its architecture and gain a better understanding of its citizens can be realized by visiting Angkor Wat in Angkor, Cambodia. Add this trip to your list of other World Heritage sites you wish to visit one day and start planning the when and how.
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