Temples of Angkor

AngkorThe temples of Angkor were discovered by Henri Mahout in 1860. After the discovery, a stream of explorers, historians and archaeologists came to Angkor to explain the meaning of these vast buildings. The earliest of these scholars could not believe that Angkor had been built by the Cambodian people.On the contrary, they claimed that the temples had been built by another race that had conquered and occupied Cambodia about 2,000 years ago.

Gradually, some of the mysteries were explained, the Sanskrit inscriptions deciphered and the history of Angkor slowly pieced together, mainly by French scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1992, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee declared the whole city of Angkor, a World Heritage Site.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat was founded by King Suryavarman II (1113-c. 1150) to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple consists of five towers and covers an area of about 81 hectares. The five towers of Angkor Wat are presently shown on the Cambodian flag. These towers are believed to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, the Home of Gods and Center of the Hindu Universe.

Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls, narrating stories from Hindu Mythology.

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