26 Facts About Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.

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Angkor Wat was built at the behest of the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum.

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Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple.

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Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this.

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Construction of Angkor Wat took place over a period of 28 years from 1122 – 1150 CE during the reign of King Suryavarman II .

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In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer.

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Angkor Wat was therefore gradually converted into a Buddhist site, and many Hindu sculptures were replaced by Buddhist art.

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Towards the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat gradually transformed from a Hindu centre of worship to Buddhism, which continues to the present day.

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Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkor temples in that although it was largely neglected after the 16th century, it was never completely abandoned.

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Fourteen inscriptions dated from the 17th century, discovered in the Angkor Wat area, testify to Japanese Buddhist pilgrims that had established small settlements alongside Khmer locals.

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In 1622, The Poem of Angkor Wat composed in Khmer verse describes the beauty of Angkor Wat and creates a legend around the construction of the complex, supposedly a divine castle built for legendary Khmer king Preah Ket Mealea by Hindu god Preah Pisnukar, as Suryavarman II had already vanished from people's minds.

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Angkor Wat's aesthetics were on display in the plaster cast museum of Louis Delaporte called musee Indo-chinois which existed in the Parisian Trocadero Palace from c 1880 to the mid-1920s.

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Angkor Wat caught the attention and imagination of a wider audience in Europe when the pavilion of French protectorate of Cambodia, as part of French Indochina, recreated the life-size replica of Angkor Wat during Paris Colonial Exposition in 1931.

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From a larger historical and even transcultural perspective the temple of Angkor Wat did not become a symbol of national pride sui generis but had been inscribed into a larger politico-cultural process of French-colonial heritage production in which the original temple site was presented in French colonial and universal exhibitions in Paris and Marseille between 1889 and 1937.

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Angkor Wat is a unique combination of the temple mountain and the later plan of concentric galleries, most of which were derived from religious beliefs of Hinduism originally.

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The construction of Angkor Wat suggests that there was a celestial significance with certain features of the temple.

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Freeman and Jacques note that several other temples of Angkor depart from the typical eastern orientation, and suggest that Angkor Wat's alignment was due to its dedication to Vishnu, who was associated with the west.

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Angkor Wat is the prime example of the classical style of Khmer architecture—the Angkor Wat style—to which it has given its name.

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The statuary of Angkor Wat is considered conservative, being more static and less graceful than earlier work.

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Architect Jacques Dumarcay believes the layout of Angkor Wat borrows Chinese influence in its system of galleries which join at right angles to form courtyards.

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Angkor Wat architects employed small apsara images as decorative motifs on pillars and walls.

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The entire city of Angkor Wat used far greater amounts of stone than all the Egyptian pyramids combined and occupied an area significantly greater than modern-day Paris.

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Work on Angkor Wat was abandoned during the Khmer Rouge era and the Conservation d'Angkor Wat was disbanded in 1975.

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In 1992, following an appeal for help by Norodom Sihanouk, Angkor Wat was listed in UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger and World Heritage Site together with an appeal by UNESCO to the international community to save Angkor.

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Since Angkor Wat has seen significant growth in tourism throughout the years, UNESCO and its International Co-ordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, in association with representatives from the Royal Government and APSARA, organised seminars to discuss the concept of "cultural tourism".

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At the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012, it was agreed that Borobudur and Angkor Wat would become sister sites and the provinces sister provinces.

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