Saturday, 20 December 2014

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom was a walled city, the last capital of the Khmer Empire. It was founded in twelfth century. The best known building in the city is the Bayon temple which used to be the official state temple.

Bayon is famous in particular for the numerous stone faces curved on the top of the walls and towers. In total, there are over two hundred of them!

Here you can see closer one of them.

The inner courtyard is large and surrounded with yet some more faces.

They look into all the directions.

Let's walk inside.

The walls are decorated with many sculptures. I liked a lot these dancing ladies. Or gentlemen. I am not really sure here.

And for all those asking themselves - where is Buddha in all that? Well, he is here. And do not be fooled by the child sitting next to me. Compare the size of the statue with the adult next to it.

Since Angkor Thom was a capital city (it is estimated that it had around a hundred thousand inhabitants!) it had of course more than one temple. I will show you as well Baphuon, first dedicated to Shiva and then again to Buddha.

Believe it or not but it is starting to rain! 

Let's better get inside.

Unfortunately "inside" is somehow still outside since the ceilings have collapsed in most rooms and corridors.

Anyway, the rain is warm (the temperature here never falls below 20-25 degrees) so let's just ignore it. I propose we go up this tower to get a better overview of the place.

It must have been an impressive temple in the old days.

Today not so much is left from its past glory.

Alright, we get down - mind your steps, everything is so high in here.

You will probably tell me it is not possible that a capital city consists only of temples. Of course you are right. The king of a mighty empire must have been an outstanding warrior. To receive tributes from his victorious army he needed a platform. A big platform. 350 meters long to be more precise.

It is called the Terrace of the Elephants because of the very many elephants presented there.

Elephants serve also as pillars.

Of course nowadays the Cambodian army does not recruit elephants just like it does not recruit horses. But you can see some on the walls.

Look, the sun is shining again. This was a short rain only. So let's take a last look into the stone faces.

Let's have now a little nap under a tree. You are not sure if we will find one big enough? Just compare this one to the size of a bus. Or more buses. Should be enough for a horse and a few friends.

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