The Angkor Archaeological Park holds the outstanding temple ruins of Angkor. The most famous temple is the Angkor Wat while other ancient remains of the Khmer Empire are equally as majestic. The park encompasses more than 400 square kilometers and is found just outside the city of Siem Reap. This World Heritage Site has helped put Siem Reap on the map by encouraging many tourists to head to the northwest part of Cambodia.
The Angkor temple ruins found in the park are mostly remnants of the Ankorian-era capital of the ancient Khmer Empire that reigned more than a millennium ago. The Khmer people were known to be the dominant ethnic group in all of Cambodia during the time. The name “Angkor” is then from this empire that extended across a vast area of Southeast Asia during the 9th to the 15th Century. Angkor also pertains to the then-capital city of the Khmer territory that was located at the northern part of Siem Reap.
All of the temples of Angkor were constructed during the reign of the Angkorian-era and represent the pinnacle of the ancient Khmer civilization, architecture and art. During its height, the Age of Angkor was a time of power and wealth of the Khmer Empire. Khmer kings ordered the construction of vast water works and majestic temples as well as the establishment of a strong military, economic and cultural dominance over South East Asia. The capital city was populated with more than a million people at the time, making a city full of vast opportunities. In 1431, when the Ayutthayan invaders attacked the Khmer capital, it then marked the end of the Khmer civilization, which caused most of its population to migrate to the south.
The Angkor Archaeological Park comprises over 40 major temples and an even larger number of minor temple sites. The entire park is spread over a huge area that is much larger than anyone can ever imagine until they have been there for at least a few days. Most often, visitors are the ones who give up on seeing all of the temples as the site is much too large to be covered in a single visit.
Visitors must purchase an admission pass or Angkor Pass in order to visit the different temples and sites of the Angkor Archaeological Park. With such vast sights to see in the large and magnificent park, passes are sold in one-day, three-day and seven day blocks.
A one day visit allows you to see only the highlights of the most famous temples but nothing more. Three days is said to be sufficient to cover all major temples with a few minor ones and a little extra time for your favorites. For the more serious adventure seekers and for budding photographers, a seven day pass would be perfect to explore the depths of the temples and to take pictures of Angkor.
The temples of Angkor together make up the most significant site of the Khmer civilization and architecture. The Angkor Archaeological Park approaches at least two million visitors a year, making it one of the most recognized historical and archaeological areas in the world.