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November 16, 2008

The Many Faces of Angkor

-Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom. Cambodia.
If you look closely there are over two-hundred faces carved into the spires.-


Our second destination, and probably our favorite temple of all, was Angkor Thom (meaning Great City) inclusive of Bayon Temple. While not as well maintained as Angkor Wat and much smaller in size, this temple was built just after the world famous Angkor Wat and was a part of a much larger city covering 9 km² of which nothing remains today. Angkor Thom remained the capital city of the empire until it was abandoned in the 16th century due to an ever crumbling kingdom. A western visitor who visited the site in 1609 was recorded as stating that Angkor Thom was, "as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato" and at that time it was believed that this uninhabited city must have been the remains of the great Roman empire.

-Exquisite carvings of the terrace surrounding the main palace.-

-Morning light shining on three of the Bayon faces.-

This magnificent temple, Bayon, is probably best known for its 200 plus stone-carved faces. All 200 of these towering face carvings are strikingly similar. It is not known who the face is to resemble, but there is speculation that it was the face of the king himself, while others believe that they might have been the faces of the kingdoms guardians.

Within the city, all roads lead to and from the temple. And, despite its relatively small size it is a most worthy focal point.

-One of twelve towers set opposite of the palace.-

-Crumbling faces.-

-Silhouette.-

-Carvings from the Elephant Terrace.-

-A view of the towers and an algae covered pond as seen through a tower window.-

-Faces.-

-The city had four gates spanning it's moat, each guarded by a bridge of faces.-

-If you look closely you might recognize this temple from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.-

3 comments:

Jen said...

Can I ask... what travel book are you using to get around? We're looking into a trip like this (possibly for this summer) and I'd love some tips!

The Olson's said...

We are using Lonely Planet, Asia on a Shoestring... but it is too broad and we found a lot of the information to be invalid or out of date. We don't recommend it.

Actually, you can buy black market Lonely Planets off the street here for a few bucks and getting a full copy for every country and ditching it in a book swap when your done is not a bad idea.

Yet, to be honest we haven't consulted books as much as we consulted the people running the hotels we stay in. We book hotels through hostelworld.com This is definitely the best way. The books seems to be more weight than they're worth.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that all of your photos are beautiful. What a fantastic trip.