Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 5 Gates of Angkor Thom

North Gate, Angkor Thom (2006)

Victory Gate, Angkor Thom (2010) 

West Gate, Angkor Thom (2002)

 East Gate, Angkor Thom (2002)

South Gate, Angkor Thom (2008)

 Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom (Big Angkor) is a 3km x 3km walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian empire. After King Jayavarman VII recaptured the Angkorian capital from the Cham in 1181, he began a massive building campaign across the empire and built Angkor Thom as his new capital city. He began the new city with existing structures such as Baphuon and Phimeanakas, building a grand enclosed city around them, adding the outer wall/moat and raising other important temples including the Bayon set at the center of the city and probably serving as his state temple. Five grand entrances allowed access to the capital city - five towering face gates - one for each cardinal point, and the Victory Gate leading to the Royal Palace area. Each gate is crowned with 4 giant faces and framed by elephants wading amongst lotus flowers. Most modern visitors and tourists first enter Angkor Thom by the South Gate, coming from Siem Reap town 9km south.  

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