Angkor Wat



9 Questions

What is the original religion that Angkor Wat was built for?

Who ordered the construction of Angkor Wat?

What is the size of the Angkor Wat complex?

What is the orientation of Angkor Wat?

What are the themes of the bas-relief friezes at Angkor Wat?

What is the material used to build Angkor Wat?

When was Angkor Wat designated a World Heritage Site?

What is the name of the German conservation project working to protect the devatas and other bas-reliefs that decorate the temple?

What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism in Angkor Wat?


Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious structure in the world, covering 162.6 hectares. Originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. The temple was built at the behest of King Suryavarman II and is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology. Angkor Wat was built over 28 years during the reign of King Suryavarman II. It was sacked by the Chams in 1177 and was gradually converted into a Buddhist site by King Jayavarman VII. Angkor Wat is unusual in that it was never completely abandoned and was thought to be the Jetavana garden of the Buddha by Japanese Buddhist pilgrims in the 17th century. The temple was effectively rediscovered by French naturalist Henri Mouhot in 1860, who popularised the site in the West. Angkor Wat and other Khmer monuments led directly to France adopting Cambodia as a protectorate. Restoration work was interrupted by the Cambodian Civil War and Khmer Rouge control of the country during the 1970s and 1980s. Angkor Wat caught the attention and imagination of a wider audience in Europe when a life-size replica was created during the Paris Colonial Exposition in 1931. According to a myth, the construction of Angkor Wat was ordered by Indra to serve as a palace for his son Precha Ket Mealea. Angkor Wat is a unique combination of the temple mountain and the later plan of concentric galleries. The temple's east-west orientation and lines of sight from terraces show specific towers at the precise location of the solstice at sunrise, suggesting celestial significance. The temple represents Mount Meru, and access to the upper areas was progressively more exclusive. The main tower aligns with the morning sun of the spring equinox, and the temple is oriented to the west, leading some to conclude that Suryavarman intended it to serve as his funerary temple.Angkor Wat: A Prime Example of Khmer Architecture

  • Angkor Wat is an example of the classical style of Khmer architecture, made of sandstone blocks, and is surrounded by a moat that is over 5 kilometers in perimeter.

  • The temple's design is characterized by various elements, including the ogival, redented towers shaped like lotus buds, half-galleries to broaden passageways, axial galleries connecting enclosures, and cruciform terraces.

  • The temple's design is harmonious and considered a "work of power, unity, and style."

  • The temple's outer wall encloses a space of 820,000 square meters, which was originally occupied by the city and the royal palace.

  • The temple stands on a terrace that is raised higher than the city and is made up of three rectangular galleries, each level higher than the last.

  • The galleries are dedicated to the king, Brahma, the moon, and Vishnu, and each gallery has a gopura at each of the points.

  • The temple is decorated with extensive bas-relief friezes depicting scenes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as depictions of apsaras and devata.

  • The monument was made of five to ten million sandstone blocks, which were transported from Mount Kulen, a quarry approximately 40 kilometers northeast.

  • Virtually all of the temple's surfaces, columns, lintels, and even roofs are carved, and there are kilometers of reliefs illustrating scenes from Indian literature.

  • The temple has faced extensive damage and deterioration by a combination of plant overgrowth, fungi, ground movements, war damage, and theft.

  • Restoration and conservation work on Angkor Wat began in 1908, and a major restoration of Angkor was undertaken in the 1960s and again in the 1980s.

  • Angkor Wat was listed in UNESCO's World Heritage in Danger in 1992, following an appeal for help by Norodom Sihanouk, and was later removed from the list in 2004.Conservation and Tourism at Angkor Wat

  • Angkor Wat was designated a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a law to protect Cambodian heritage was passed in 1996.

  • Countries such as France, Japan, and China are involved in Angkor Wat conservation projects, with the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) working to protect the devatas, and other bas-reliefs that decorate the temple, from damage.

  • Microbial biofilms have been found degrading sandstone at Angkor Wat, Preah Khan, and the Bayon and West Prasat in Angkor.

  • Since the 1990s, Angkor Wat has become a major tourist destination, with over two million foreign tourists visiting in 2018.

  • The site was managed by the private SOKIMEX group between 1990 and 2016, which rented it from the Cambodian government.

  • Tourism has provided additional funds for maintenance, although most work is carried out by teams sponsored by foreign governments rather than by the Cambodian authorities.

  • UNESCO and its International Co-ordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC) have organised seminars to discuss the concept of "cultural tourism".

  • The concept of the "Angkor Tourist City" was developed in 2001, which would be developed about traditional Khmer architecture, contain leisure and tourist facilities, and provide luxurious hotels capable of accommodating large numbers of tourists.

  • The prospect of developing such large tourist accommodations has encountered concerns from both APSARA and the ICC, claiming that previous tourism developments in the area have neglected construction regulations.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to travel restrictions being introduced across the world, which had a severe impact on Cambodia's tourism sector, leaving the usually crowded complex almost deserted.

  • Cambodia, including Angkor Wat, reopened to international visitors in late 2021, but as of the end of 2022 had only received a fraction of its pre-pandemic traffic.

  • Locals of Siem Reap have voiced concern that the charm and atmosphere of their town have been compromised to entertain tourism.


Test your knowledge of one of the world's most impressive and iconic landmarks with our Angkor Wat quiz! From its history as a Hindu temple to its transformation into a Buddhist site, explore the unique features of this architectural masterpiece. Learn about the intricate design elements, the stunning bas-relief friezes, and the challenges faced in its conservation and restoration. Discover how tourism has impacted the site and its surrounding area, and test your knowledge of the myths and legends associated with this ancient wonder. Take the

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