Angkor Wat is the most famous complex in the Angkor Archaeological Park which stretches over a massive 150 square mile area. The temple was built but the Khmers or the traditional people of Cambodia for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. A remarkable amount of the structure remains 900 years later. Partially due to its importance to Khmer people and also because of its surrounding moat which provided some protection from the encroachment of the jungle.
Angkor Wat – the “Capital Temple” – is so much a part of Cambodia that it has been on every version of the Cambodian flag since 1863, the only building to appear on any national flag.
The temple was originally Hindu dedicated to the god VIshnu. Later it was converted to Theravada Buddhism which continues to the present day. The statues show elements of both religions.
The structures up close are wondrous.
The carvings are intricate and beautiful.
Ok some of the carvings are interesting and a little frightening.
Tourism is relatively new in Angkor. The area was given World Heritage Site designation by UNESCO in 1992. However throughout the 1990’s lodging options were very limited and it was still very dangerous to visit. As recently as 1994, a western tourist was killed by a presumed Khmer Rouge member near the Wat.
Today things are very different over 2 million people visit annually and besides the shouting of tour guides it is a very serene peaceful place.
When the view is so beautiful I do not think you can keep people away.
I just hope the preservation can be done in a way to sustain this view for the next millenia and beyond.