March 15, 2007

Angkor Thom - Cambodia

Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Khmer Empire started in the early 9th century and at its peak was bounded by Vietnam (east), China (north), and Burma (west). The Khmer cult (“devaraja”) was founded on the belief that the Khmer kings were earthly incarnations of Shiva, Vishnu or the Buddha.

Angkor Thom (“Great City”) was the last Khmer Empire capital and was founded by King Jayavarman VII (1181-1215). It was surrounded by a defensive wall and moats.

Bayon was built on the site of a former Hindu temple in the late 12th century by Jayavarman VII and is famous for the serene stone faces and bas-reliefs.

Baphuon was an early Hindu temple built by Udayadityavarman II (1050-66) and is currently being restored.

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