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Betty the Butterfly's Blog >>

Swallowed By The Jungle

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Ta Som

In the forests of north-western Cambodia lies one of South-East Asia's most important archaeological sites, the magnificent ruins of the once thriving Angkor Civilisation. Dominating this part of the world from the 9th to the 15th century, ruler after ruler made their mark by erecting monumental structures as their capital in the heart of the jungle.

Thought to have supported up to a million people in it's prime, the Angkor region not only covers a vast area of more than 400 square kilometres, but also demonstrates significant advances in society for the time, from complex irrigation systems to the building of the world's largest religious building (even today), the glorious temple of Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat

Built by Suryavarman II in 1113, Angkor Wat was created to be the most extravagant of all the Khmer monuments. The temple was built in dedication to Vishnu and is surrounded by one of the most extensive enclosures in the region, a large crocodile swamped moat, further encased by a more than 3 kilometre long outer wall.

After centuries of the many successive Khmer capitals and their rulers, the civilisation declined in the 15th century leading to the complete abandonment of the hundreds of enormous stone structures that dotted the region. The great city and it's temples had remained hidden in the growing jungle for more than 400 years when it was discovered by a French archaeologist in the late 19th century.

Ta Prohm

Today many of the Angkor monuments are undergoing extensive restoration work, but none display the sheer power of the trees, quite like the breathtaking ruins of the temple of Ta Prohm. Cloaked in mainly large silk-cotton roots, this phenomenal building has been almost completely taken over in some parts, and has become one of the most iconic images for the region.

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