Our Adventure To Siem Reap Part II : Angkor Empire and One of the World’s Wonders, Angkor Wat

During our stay in Siem Reap, we traveled to visit some of the famous temples such as Ta Prohm, Banteay Srey, South gate of Angkor Thom, Terrace of Elephants, Phimean Aksa, Terrace of Leper King, Bayon temple, and one of the world’s wonder, Angkor Wat. we learned about the reason why these temples were built. During the Angkor era, the golden age of Khmer nation, from 802 to 1431, each king who reigned, would construct a temple for his coronation to the throne. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, it was dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu, and it was the capital city of the Khmer Empire. The construction started by Suryavarman II and finished by Jayavarman VII, the most famous king during the Angkor era. ┬áIt is a testimony of the Khmer civilization and architecture to have the wealth and the unique technology to construct such an enormous structure. Each stone weighs 1.5 tons, and was placed on top of each other. There were 9 towers in total, however, four of them had collapsed from years of abandoned after the successor kings to Jayavarman VII moved the capital to Phnom Penh area due to Siamese invasions, failure of irrigation system, and widespread of diseases. One unique technique that was being used in constructing the foundation is the sand beneath it to make it all stable, they dig up a moat around the structure as big as a river. The most fascinating thing about the temple is the carving on the stones. On each side of the wall lies a story that carve into the stones and the stories are a major part of informing historians and the people of Cambodia of the rich cultural heritage of the Khmer people. The Angkor Wat was converted to a Buddhist temple in the late 12th century after the reigning king became a Buddhist. Statues of Buddha were placed inside the structure, but most of them were destroyed when the next king decided to change the state religion back to Hinduism. Its rediscover during the French colonization gave rise to the Khmernization and the beginning of Cambodia as a country that quickly wanted to become independence from France and self-governing their own future. Angkor Wat is the most prestigious structure that give every Cambodian a great sense of national pride and prove to the world that they are the descendants of such great builders, craftsmen, and architects, descendants of those whose created one of the greatest civilizations that the world have ever known and constructed one of the most uniquest structures that the world have ever seen. One of the disappointment moments I had is the vandalism inside the structure, as some people had carved their names onto some of the pillars. Please do not touch or make any actions that would destroy or damage the temple or any other ancient monuments around the world. Let help to preserve them for the next generations to see what the ancient civilizations were capable to do with just stones, ropes, and sticks.

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