Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia

Angkor Thom Temple or the Great City was the last capital and lasted the longest of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. With 9 km wide, the temple was built by King Jayavarman VII of Cambodia at the end of the 12th century with many sanctuaries inside dating back to the previous period. In the center of the temple, there is the Baphuon National Temple built during the reign of Jayavarman, the Bayon Temple with the other vestiges gathering around the Victory Square just in north of the Angkor Thom Temple.

Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia

History of the Angkor Thom Temple:

Angkor Thom Temple was built to become the capital of the Khmer kingdom under the rule of King Jayavarman VII, as part of the gigantic construction program. However, this majestic monument was not the first capital of the Khmers people at this place because three centuries before, Yashodharapura, located in the northwest, was the capital of the Cambodian empire. So the construction of the Angkor Thom Temple in 12th century covered some parts.

The last known temple that was built at the Great City was Mangalartha in 1295. From this time, it was sometimes repaired, but the new temple built with perishable materials has not existed until now. In the following centuries, the Angkor Thom Temple was the capital of the kingdom of Cambodia until abandonment in 1609.

Style of architecture and descriptions of the Angkor Thom Temple:

Angkor Thom Temple was built in the style of the Bayon which is reflected in the incredible large dimension of the project. Laterite was widely used as building material, in the presence of carved stone towers of human faces at the entrance to the city and the image of the Naga (Sacred Snake) in each tower.

Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia

The Angkor Thom Temple or the Great City is located on the shores of Tonle Sap Lake. The southern gate is located more than 7 km from the city of Siem Reap, 1.7 km in north of Angkor Wat Temple. The wall (8 meters high, 3 km long, surrounded by the outer moat) encompasses an area of ​​9 square kilometers. This wall was built from laterite with the bastions on. There is a gateway in the east, west, south and the north. Archaeologists have explained that the walls and moats symbolize the sea and Mount Meru in the legends of Hinduism. Another door - the Victory Gate - located 500 meters from the east gate; The Victory Road parallel to the east road of the Angkor Thom Temple leads to Victory Square and the Royal Palace in the north of the Bayon Temple.

The Angkor Thom temple was built in the style of Bayon which is shown by large-scale works, the use of laterite as the main material of construction, paving of the entrance to the city, the Naga snake in each tower and carved towers of human faces. The gateway to the Angkor Thom temple is pyramid-shaped, on the roof, there are 4 large statues of compassionate human faces like the Buddha. Faces can represent the king? Bodhisattva Avalokitésvara? The guardian of the kingdom or some combination of these characters? In front of each door, there is a path through the moat. Along the way is surrounded by a row of gods called Deva carved in stone. Each row of Devas supports a Naga (Stone Snake). Each entrance to the Angkor Thom Temple measures 3.5 x 7 meters and can be closed by wooden doors.

Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia

At each corner of the temple of the Great City, there is a temple called Prasat Chrung built in sandstone to venerate Avalokitesvara. With the exception of the Bayon Temple, all the main vestiges in the Angkor Thom Temple are located in the west or east of the Victory Palace.

The Angkor Thom Temple is as magical as the Angkor Wat Temple. In the midst of the ruined remains, visitors are always looked at by the statues of human faces with mysterious smiles. Totally, there are 256 human faces on 54 stone towers in the Bayon Temple which is the center of the Angkor Thom Temple. There are also: Palace of King Leper to organize important events of the Khmer Empire and the Terrace of Elephant to organize the ceremonies of worship ... These are also two remarkable vestiges in the Angkor Thom Temple.

Meanings and particularities of the architectural style:

Angkor Thom Temple is the tiny universe whose center is the temple of Bayon. The moat symbolizes the ocean. The monuments symbolize Mount Meru which is the Universe according to Hinduism.

Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia

In general, the decorative motifs on the surface of Angkor Wat temples and in Angkor Thom Temple are: Naga, Buddha, Apsara dancers, lions, images of the prosperity of the Khmer Empire and many types of models ... Engraved contours on the architectural works are very meticulous, sophisticated, gifted ... We  have the impression that they are molded in the same mold. The curves of the women's bodies or the muscles of the men are shown strongly. Perhaps it is also a way to preserve the ancient Khmer history for the next generations. The construction methods are based on the principle: people piled the stone blogs first before carving the ornamental patterns. The proof is that on the pillars of the Angkor Thom Temple, there are unfinished reliefs.

Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia

Angkor Thom Temple still attracts travelers by the beauty of ancient times being mysterious with unique artistic aspects. Here, travelers feel lost in another world full of strange emotions, so that when they leave the site, they certainly keep the impressions unforgettable. If you are fond of discovery, you should not miss the opportunity to admire one of the masterpieces of Humanity in general and of the Khmer people in particular: The Angkor Thom Temple in Cambodia.