The unique beauty of Angkor Thom

Feb 26, 2023

Angkor Thom is one of the famous destinations in Cambodia, with unique archaeological monuments and attracts visitors from all over the world. Learn about the history, architecture and attractions of Angkor Thom through the guides and articles here.

In the northwest of Cambodia, close to Siem Reap, sits the ancient city of Angkor Thom. It served as the Khmer Empire’s final and most resilient capital, a strong empire that dominated most of Southeast Asia from the ninth to the fifteenth century.

King Jayavarman VII erected Angkor Thom as the capital of his realm in the late 12th century. The city, which has a footprint of around 9 square kilometers, was fortified with walls and a moat.

There are a number of noteworthy buildings located inside the city walls, such as the Bayon temple, which is well-known for having numerous towers adorned with enormous stone faces, and the Baphuon temple, which was constructed in the shape of a pyramid and is devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. The Terrace of the Leper King, which has carvings of legendary creatures, and the Terrace of the Elephants, which was utilized for ceremonial purposes, are two more noteworthy buildings in Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom is now a well-liked tourist site and is featured on many tours of the Angkor Archaeological Park, which also has a number of other well-known temples and Khmer Empire remains.

History of Angkor Tom

King Jayavarman VII, one of the most significant and potent kings of the Khmer Empire, constructed Angkor Thom in the latter half of the 12th century. Jayavarman VII was renowned for his large-scale construction initiatives and support of Buddhism; Angkor Thom was his crowning achievement.

The city was erected where an ancient capital called Yasodharapura, which had been destroyed by a neighboring kingdom called the Chams, had formerly stood. In addition to being an unconquerable fortress, Jayavarman VII wanted his new city to be the hub of his political and religious endeavors.

Thousands of laborers contributed their labor over the course of several decades to the construction of Angkor Thom. The city was constructed on a great scale, with walls and moats that covered several kilometers and had a large number of temples and other buildings.

The Bayon temple, which was built in the middle of the city and is renowned for its several towers covered in enormous stone faces, is the most well-known building in Angkor Thom. Both the Buddha and the ardent Buddhist Monarch Jayavarman VII are thought to be represented by the faces.

Other noteworthy buildings in Angkor Thom include the Terrace of the Elephants, which was used for ceremonial purposes and has carvings of elephants and other animals, and the Baphuon temple, which is devoted to the Hindu god Shiva and was constructed in the shape of a pyramid.

Angkor Thom was left in ruins after the Khmer Empire was overthrown in the fifteenth century. French archaeologists made a new discovery of it in the late 19th century, and it has been maintained and renovated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site ever since. Angkor Thom is currently one of the most well-liked tourist destinations in Cambodia, with millions of visitors yearly.

Architecture of Angkor Thom

The famed architecture of Angkor Thom, which highlights the abilities and accomplishments of the Khmer Empire at its height, is stunning and impressive. Several monuments and buildings in the city are regarded as masterpieces of ancient architecture.

The Bayon temple, one of Angkor Thom’s most well-known and distinctive buildings, is distinguished by its several towers that are adorned with enormous stone faces. The faces, which are intricately carved, are thought to either represent the Buddha or King Jayavarman VII. The temple’s distinctive design includes a central sanctuary encircled by galleries that are decorated with elaborate carvings and bas-reliefs that represent themes from mythology, history, and everyday life.

The Baphuon temple, which was constructed in the style of a pyramid and is devoted to the Hindu god Shiva, is another remarkable building in Angkor Thom. Its enormous size and the elaborate sculptures and bas-reliefs that adorn its walls make the temple stand out.

Another stunning piece of architecture in Angkor Thom is the Terrace of the Elephants. The terrace has a long wall decorated with carvings of elephants and other animals and was utilized for ceremonial purposes. The intricate carvings display the craftsmanship of Khmer artists.

Other notable structures in Angkor Thom include the Terrace of the Leper King, which features carvings of mythological figures, and the Phimeanakas temple, which was built in the 10th century and is renowned for its beautiful design and intricate carvings.

Overall, the architecture of Angkor Thom is a testament to the artistic and architectural achievements of the Khmer Empire, and it continues to awe and inspire visitors from all over the world.

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