Angkor Wat Complex is the largest religious complex in the world. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple of god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire at the beginning of the 12th century but was converted into a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century and has been in virtually continuous use since it was built.

The temple is built as a representation of the mythical Mount Meru which is a 5 peaked mountain that is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.

The complex is located in Cambodia approximately 5 miles north the city of Siem Reap.

The first thing that I encountered before entering the complex is that the entire complex is surrounded by a moat.

After crossing the moat, the main entrance into the complex is through the main gate of a stone wall that surrounds the complex just inside the moat. The wall is more of a city wall than just a stone fence. In some places the wall is actually a functioning building.

Once I pass through the walled gate, I enter into the courtyard and that is when the enormity of the complex struck me. All my life I had seen pictures of the main building and it looks big but I had never seen a picture from standing just inside the main gate. I really wasn’t prepared for seeing such a large complex. Instead of rushing to see the main building, I just stopped and tried to absorb the magnitude of the entire complex. The picture below is looking back at the entrance gate at the end of the walkway (The water on each side are ponds at the entrance of the main complex).

After the size of the complex had sunk in I began to explore the structures of the complex. The obvious features of the site are the 5 towers. They truly are impressive. They are bigger than I had expected and they are also very detailed.

Once I was able to draw my focus away from the towers, there was so much more to see and it was all covered with stone craftsmanship. There are large stone courtyards and some with grass.

Everything was built with extreme attention to details. The windows were built with stone spindles and there are religious figures carved into the side of the walls. Even the foundation for the massive structure was contoured and looks similar our modern day crown molding.

The inside of the temple was equally impressive. Most of the photos that you will see of Angkor Was are from the outside but inside the temple is also amazing. There are large rooms with high ceilings. Large columns with detailed carvings, walls with cultural and religious carvings and Buddha sculptures.

Everything about the complex is impressive. Everything from the stone road that leads from the main entrance to the main building, the massive building including the huge towers and the small building scattered around the complex were built with amazing details. All of it lives up to its reputation for being one of the top must see tourist attractions in the world.

The parting image that I wanted to leave you with is that Angkor Wat is still a functioning religious facility.

This post is the first in a series of three post on the Angkor complex. The Angkor complex is amazing with three very different attractions. I had dreamed about going to see the Angkor complex for many years and it did not disappoint me. Everything about this archaeological site was bigger and better than I had expected. It truly is one of the top world attractions.

Click on the related posts below to see the other two posts on the Angkor Complex:

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4 thoughts on “Angkor Wat – Cambodia”

  1. Wow – great pictures. It’s almost like being there.

    1. Thanks Mike, I try hard to take photos that provide an overall view and a close up look of the places that visit.

  2. These images are awesome! Looking forward to my trip in October!

    1. Thanks Frida, I will have two more post on Cambodia before you leave in October. One will be on the Bayon Temple and the other will be on Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. I am sure that you will see both of these on your trip.

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