Angkor Thom, Siem-Reap

Quick Facts:

Situated on the western side of the Siem Reap River, Angkor Thom (means 'Great City') is the final capital city of the glorious Khmer Empire, where contains the precious cultural, artistic, historical and religious values and is also the great pride of Cambodia.

Founded at the end of twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII, Angkor Thom has an area of 9 km² surrounded by laterite walls 8 meters in height forming a proportional square. It is considered the large-scale cultural and religious center of Khmer Empire, as well as a magnificent architectural ensemble in the Bayon style that The King Jayavarman VII spent much enthusiasm and effort in construction. He designed the structure of Angkor Thom as a thumbnail model of the universe with four symmetric parts divided by the main spindles.  Each part has a corresponding gateway towards one side of the compass, and the fifth gate with the name Victory is located about 500m north of the east gate. The Bayon temple is placed in at the intersection of the axes as the symbolical connection between heaven and earth. Meanwhile, the surrounding wall and moat represent the mountain ranges and the ocean. Viewed from Angkor Wat, the bridge leading to the south gate of the city is prominent with two railing decorated by the image of multiheaded serpent in Khmer legend. Until now the south gate is still used most because it is the main entrance for visitors to enter the city. Moreover, there are many famous ancient relics inside Angkor Thom such as the Terrace of Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King, four small temples "Prasat Chrung” at four corners of the city along with othervaluableartifacts. Although abandoned for a long time, Angkor Thom still represents an vivid picture about one of the most powerful and glorious empire in the past and makes the Cambodia’s image closer to international travelers.

It can be said that Angkor Thom is really an invaluable wonder of humanity because of not only its breathtaking beauty but also the great historical value through ancient monuments that we are contemplating.

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