Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is filled with interesting history and beauty.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Angkor Wat:
The term “Angkor Wat” translates to City Temple; and the original wall (which no longer exists) actually enclosed the temple, a city and a palace.
The Angkor region itself is filled with ruins that actually stretch around 400 kilometres squared. You’ll probably visit Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom while you’re there, but make sure you take time to visit some of the lesser known temples as well.
Around 50% of travellers who visit Cambodia, actually do so specifically to see Angkor Wat. And watching the sunrise over the temple is one of the most amazing, and popular, experiences you can have.
It’s believed to have been constructed in the early 12th Century but it wasn’t until the 1500s that it got its current name.
Angkor Wat is believed to be the largest religious monument in the world and was built out of sandstone that had to be carried to the site from a quarry some 50 kilometres away.
Most temples in the area face the east, but Angkor Wat faces the west. This means it faces sunset – which makes is an amazing destination for people wanting great photos as the sun goes down over the horizon.
It was originally built as a Hindu Temple and the decorations on the temple walls include fables and myths from the Hindu religion. It was changed to Buddhist in the late 1200s. Today, Buddhists still use the temple for worship.
The temple of Angkor Wat was actually built to represent Mount Meru, which is known as the home of the Lord of Brahma and the demi-god Devtas; part of Hindu Mythology.
Angkor Thom is located nearby and is Cambodia's world famous walled city. You can take a walk along the wall if you’re on a specialised tour, and arrive at the East Gate - which was once used for taking dead bodies to be cremated.
You can also visit the enchanted temple of Bayon, which was built around 1190 AD by King Jayavarman VII and is richly decorated with faces smiling out into the crowds.