Angkor Wat and Angkor Wat is the largest temple complex of Angkor monuments in Cambodia. It was built by Suryavarman II in the early twelfth century as “state temple” and capital. The best preserved temple of Angkor, one of the largest medieval cities in the world, he is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation, first Hindu, dedicated to Vishnu, then Buddhist.
The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia and is on its national flag. It is the main tourist attraction of the country.
Angkor Wat combines two basic architecture of Khmer temples: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the gods in Hindu mythology.
Inside a moat and an outer wall 3.6 km long are three rectangular galleries, each one inside the other. In the center of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most of the Angkor temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west, probably because it is geared towards Vishnu.
The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of its architecture and numerous bas-reliefs adorning its walls. Its beauty and size are such that many consider it the eighth wonder of the world, 1 2. It also provides important clues about Angkor hydraulic system. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.