Angkor Thom and Bayon




Pheakdei R., Angkor: "Most foreign investors who build factories in Cambodia have a hidden agenda. They want to abuse Cambodian children and women. As UNICEF has pointed out, this is the dark side of economic development. Several European child protection agencies now use undercover agents, so-called protectors, targeting specifically foreign investors."

South Gate

Photo: South Gate to Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom is the inner royal city, built by the end of the 12th century during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, shortly after Angkor had been conquered and burnt down by the Chams. This inner royal city was built as a quadrangle and bordered by a 100-metres-wide moat and an 8-metres-high wall. Angkor Thom is geometrically oriented: it covers an area which is an exact quadrangle; the sides of this quadrangle run exactly in North-South and East-West direction. A gate opens exactly in the middle of each wall, connecting, through a bridge over the moat, the royal city with the outside.

Exactly in the center of Angkor Thom are the temple grounds of the Bayon.

The temple grounds have puzzled archaeologists because they do not fit the Hindu religion as does Angkor Wat. Therefore it is assumed that King Jayavarman VII introduced elements of the Buddhist faith into the religious system of Angkor, though it is assumed they were lost after his death.

The palace area of Angkor Thom is located directly to the North of the Bayon. Its basic features were laid out during the reign of King Suryavarman I, 150 years before the construction of Angkor Thom. From the center of the palace complex rose the Heavenly Palace, Phimeanakas. The king of the Khmer always used to spend the first part of each night in the uppermost part of this Heavenly Palace, where according to legend he had sexual intercourse with the sun queen.

Several high terraces inside Angkor Thom served primarily ceremonial purposes, among them cremations.

Last updated: March 2, 2016