Angkor is a complex of ancient temples in Cambodia, with the most famous being Angkor Wat. The temple city of Angkor, located in present-day Siem Reap Province, was the capital of the Khmer Empire, which ruled much of Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The empire's power and influence extended over much of modern-day Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Angkor Wat is the largest and most well-preserved temple in the complex, and is considered a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. It was originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, but later became a Buddhist temple as well. The temple is known for its elaborate carvings and reliefs, as well as its impressive size. The temple is surrounded by a moat and has three enclosing walls, with the outer wall measuring 1.5 km (0.9 miles) in length and the inner wall measuring 1.3 km (0.8 miles) in length.
Other notable temples in the Angkor complex include Angkor Thom, the Bayon, and Ta Prohm. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Khmer Empire, and is known for its towering stone gates and massive stone faces carved into the temples. The Bayon is a temple with a distinctive style, featuring giant stone faces carved in all four directions. Ta Prohm is a temple that has been left largely unrestored, and is known for its massive trees growing out of the temple walls and roofs.
Angkor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a popular tourist destination in Cambodia. The temple complex is open to visitors every day from sunrise to sunset, and there are guided tours available for those who wish to learn more about the history and architecture of the temples.
In addition to the temples of Angkor, there are many other temples and historical sites to see in Cambodia. Some other notable temple complexes outside of Angkor include:
Banteay Srei: Located in the province of Siem Reap, Banteay Srei is a small temple complex known for its intricate carvings and pink sandstone walls.
Preah Vihear: This temple is located in the Dângrêk Mountains on the border between Cambodia and Thailand, and is known for its dramatic location atop a cliff. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Phnom Chisor: Located in the province of Takeo, Phnom Chisor is a temple complex built on a hilltop and surrounded by a moat. The temple dates back to the 11th century and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Koh Ker: Located in the province of Preah Vihear, Koh Ker is a temple complex that was the capital of the Khmer Empire for a brief period in the 10th century. The site is known for its large pyramid temple, as well as its many lingas (phallic symbols) and yonis (symbols of the female genitalia).
Sambor Prei Kuk: Located in the province of Kampong Thom, Sambor Prei Kuk is a temple complex dating back to the 7th century. The site is known for its sandstone temples and its many inscriptions, which provide insight into the history and culture of the period.
These are just a few of the many temples and historical sites to see in Cambodia. The country has a rich and varied history, and there are many opportunities for visitors to learn about and explore its cultural and architectural treasures.