Situated about 2km to the northeast of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan is an ancient temple in the Bayon style of the Angkor complex, built in AD 1191 by King Jayavarman VII to worship his father in the image of Bodhisattva Lokesvara (his mother was commemorated in Ta Prohm temple nearby).
It also used to be a monastery and orthodox Buddhist school of over 1000 monks. According to legend, Preah Khan is the sacred sword which was stored in the palace of Phnom Penh, symbolizing the safeguard of Cambodia. The temple was the heart of a large organization, surrounded by a protective moat and the outer laterite walls, forming the area of 56 hectares (140 acres). The walls are decorated with carvings of huge Garudas-eagle and serpents- the divine animals in the religion of Khmers.
Considered one of the most prominent and important architectural works throughout the glorious Khmer Empire, Preah Khan temple has the quite large scale with towers, ceremonial area, shrines, courtyards, and a complicated network of corridor passages. Latterly, the temple was added two pavilions: one bronze-plated sanctum and one hall of dancers. In the unity and commonality of architecture with the Temple Mother Ta Prohm, Preah Khan emerges as a symbol of the Khmer Buddhist architecture with the priceless values of history, religion and art. The Buddha statues, Buddha and Bodhisattvas carvings in the central corridor and round cylindrical columns in the west are themselves vivid evidence of the flourished Angkor civilization in late 12th century. Nowadays, the largely monuments of Preah Khanhave not been restored as same as Ta Prohm in order to keep intact its especially ruined and mysterious beauty among the jungle. Preah Khan temple is one of the invaluable assets that Khmer ancestors left for descendants and humanity.