Cambodia is a medium sized country in south-east Asia.
Its an area is 181,035 Km2
and the population reaches a
little more than 10 millions.
Until about a decade ago the country suffered a devastating civil war,
the murderous regime of the Khmer-Rouge, that was followed by Vietnamese
occupation. This poor country,
opened to international tourism only in the last few years,
offers one of the
greatest wonders of the world –
a UNESCO “World legacy site"-
the marvelous Khmer temple complex.
The Khmer dynasty ruled for
about 600 years, between the 9th and the 15th
centuries. Their kingdom
spread over an area of
what is now known as Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
The Founder of the Dynasty – king Jayavarman and his descendants,
built, in and around Angkor Thom, their capital,
hundreds of gigantic
As time passed the Khmer regime has decayed, the city and the temples
were neglected and the tropical
jungle covered the
Angkor Thom was lost, forgotten and hardly known even to the local
The site came back from oblivion in the 19th century when Henry Mouhot,
a French botanist investigated the area and discovered the remains of
the temples hidden under the thick jungle vegetation. Excavation and
restoration works started at the turn of the 20th century and are
still in process. Though only a fraction of the buildings have
been restored, the splendor of the temples is breath taking. No less
fascinating is the successful struggle of the wild jungle to re-capture
the collapsing building .
Here is just a preliminary realization
between the trees to the buildings
Angkor Thom city remains
The gates of Angkor Thom - the
ancient capital - are guarded by ferocious stone soldiers. Many of the
buildings, including the 8 meter high city walls can still be
seen. In its climax, in the 12th century, Angkor
was one of the biggest cities of the world, with nearly
a million inhabitants
and victories descriptions on the
We start our tour, just to get the idea of a Khmer temple, with– “Prasat
Kravan” (The flowers temple
The eternal struggle between man made structure and the
jungle. Many temples have been cleaned and restored, but some were left
nearly un-touched, clearing only a
narrow lane for visitors (e.g. “Beng Melea” the “Jungle
temple”). Some others were partially cleaned and remnants of the rain forest
can be seen entangled within the walls.
We are now on the way towards two such temples (Ta Prohm and Koker)
situated about 140 km from the province capital Siem Reap. Most of the
famous temples are in the vicinity of this town and it serves as a home base
of all the excursions in the area.
Melea” temple -
The entrance clearly shows the struggle between
the nature and man made structures.