Angkor Wat is one of the most recognized names commonly associated to the country of Cambodia. Basically, there are at least three things that you should know about Angkor Wat. Firstly, Angkor Wat is indeed one of the most beautiful places on earth and may be the most glorious place in Cambodia. Two, the Angkor Wat temples are some of the largest temples you shall ever see. And last, none of the temples are homogeneous as each temple was erected in different times within a period spanning four centuries.
The Angkor Wat or City Temple is a vast temple complex found near Siem Reap. It was put together in the 12th Century by the Khmer Kings in over four centuries. Initially, it was constructed as a royal and sacred temple for a deity of the Hindus. When the city of Angkor fell into the hands of invaders, Angkor Wat was hidden and abandoned in the forest. Due to many folklore accounts and stories, the “Lost City” attracted the interest of the Europeans in the 1800s when Cambodia was colonized by the French. It was only rediscovered less than a century ago by a French man.
Angkor Wat is one of the most sought after archaeological sites on the planet due to its long history and lost civilization. Because of it being a great example of preserved Khmer architecture in Cambodia, it was ranked among the Seven Wonders of the World. It also appears on the Cambodian national flag, which is a very rare instance where an image of a building is incorporated into the flag.
Today, the Angkor Wat is the most visited destination in Cambodia as it draws thousands of anxious visitors every day to see such a remarkable ancient temple in the jungle. In addition to that, a number of Buddhist monks visit the Angkor Wat daily with their bright orange robes, making it a vivid contrast to the grey stones of the temple. This then makes great photos of Angkor Wat and its surrounding areas.
A common activity is to climb the well-worn steps of Angkor Wat up until its highest point, which many claim is a vertigo nightmare. It angles at exactly 70 degrees and rises at 42 meters above the base of the upper level. It also contains a 26-meter vertical shaft that once held many treasures of the Khmer Kingdom.
The best time to visit the temple complex is during sunrise and sunset as it produces breathtaking views and landscapes that make for great photo opportunities. Although sunset is one if its busier times, it is well worth the bustle to see the temple in all its glory as it instantly turns into an ancient city of gold. If you want to visit the temple on your own, the quietest time is around noon where most of the tourist groups of Siem Reap are out for lunch.
Angkor Wat is no longer just an outstanding architectural structure or another tourist destination in Cambodia: it is now a national symbol of the country. The temple is certainly the centerpiece of any visit to the temples of Angkor. Be mesmerized by the magnificent structures of history and architecture only in Siem Reap.