Angkor, Cambodia

The temple of Angkor Wat (temple city), dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, is the largest religious building in the world. This is a complex three-level structure with many stairs and passages, crowned with 5 towers. It is not for nothing that the temple is called the soul of the Khmer people, because Angkor exactly represents Khmer art, a great civilization, the heart of the nation. In total, over 400 sq. km there are about 200 monuments. See MATERNITYETCHIC for Cambodia customs regulations and visa requirements.

It is the outlines of Angkor Wat that are depicted on the national flag of Cambodia.

How to get to the temple city

The temple complex is located 240 km west of Phnom Penh and 6 km north of Siam Reap.


The complex of religious buildings of Angkor dates back to the 10-12th centuries, in those years it was one of the largest cities in the world, its temples were known far beyond the Khmer empire. In 1431, Siamese troops practically destroyed the city, forcing the inhabitants to leave it. Since then, Angkor and more than 100 remaining palaces and temples have lurked under the shadow of a lush rainforest. Until the end of the 19th century, the French naturalist Ann Muo published a number of works on Angkor. It is said that even Rudyard Kipling wrote his Jungle Book about Mowgli after visiting this place. In 1992, the temple complex was taken under the protection of UNESCO.

Temples of Angkor

Phnom Bakheng

Phnom Bakheng – one of the first temples built in Angkor (9th-10th centuries) – a five-tiered structure with a bunch of turrets. Other ancient temples have been preserved in Angkor: Pre-Khan, Preak-Neak-Pean, Ta-Som (12th century), Banteay Kdei (second half of the 12th century).

angkor thom

Angkor Thom (“big city”) – the citadel of the city, the central part of the temple complex – is surrounded by a moat 100 m wide and a wall about 8 m high..) was restored by King Jayavarmana VII. There are 5 gates in the wall of Angkor Thom, above which rise towers about 23 m high, decorated with faces of a bodhisattva. Inside the walls there is a three-tiered Bayon pyramid surrounded by 54 towers, the ruins of the Bafuon temple, the Royal Palace, the temples of Baphuop and Pimeanakas (“Heavenly Palace”), the terrace of the Elephants and the terrace of the Leper King, as well as the Gate of Victory and stone bridges decorated with images of the gods.

The height of the Elephant Terrace is 350m – it was from there that the Khmer kings watched the ceremonies on the main square of Angkor Thom, which lies in front of the palace.

Bayon temple

Another majestic monument is the Bayon Temple (not to be confused with the Bayon Pyramid) with giant stone statues of Buddha’s faces. This three-level building with a base of 140 by 160 m is located southeast of the citadel of Angkor Thom. The temple is decorated with 52 square towers located at different levels and having different heights. On each side of these towers, the faces of the Buddha are depicted in such a way that no matter where a visitor from the north looks at this structure, he will always meet the gaze of the Enlightened One.

It is the outlines of Angkor Wat that are depicted on the national flag of Cambodia.

Angkor wat

Angkor Wat (“temple city”, 1112-1152) – the temple and mausoleum of King Suryavarman II. The complex consists of a central tower (height 65 m) and surrounding towers, symbolizing the five peaks of the sacred Mount Meru. The central structure of the temple is a multi-level structure with many stairs and passages.

The temple is surrounded by a moat 190 m wide and over 5.5 km long, it symbolizes the oceans of the world. This is the largest religious building in the world, its area is about 81 hectares.

Ta Prohm – temples swallowed up by the jungle

No less interesting is the monastery of Pre-Kan with the temples of Nik-Pin and Ta-Som (12th century). It is worth paying attention to the temple of Banteay Kde, as well as the unique Ta-Prom temple complex, almost untouched by restorers. Other “must-sees”: the complex of cult pools of Pre Neak Pean (late 12th century), the East Baray pool (7 km long and 1.8 km wide) with an island in the middle, the Bakong Temple (the first example of an architectural style temple-mountain in Khmer art), the pink sandstone temple of Bantrei Srei with fantastic bas-reliefs.

Angkor, Cambodia