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25 Interesting Angkor Wat Facts Everyone Should Know

Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia, and the largest religious monument in the world. Up to the recent days, the temple still has its secrets of construction which urge many scientists to explore. Many people even say Angkor Wat is made by aliens. Anyway, it’s now the top destination that travelers visit in Cambodia. For the trip to be more experience, let see the Angkor Wat facts that everyone should know:

The Angkor Wat Background and History

the ancient pillars in Angkor Wat

1. Angkor Wat means “The Capital of Temples”, or the “Temple City” in short.

2. Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world with an area of ​​162 hectares on square land (1,620,000 square meters) with 4 moats surrounding it.

3. The temple is built in the early part of the 12th century, between 1113 and 1150. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world.

4. According to ancient records, it took 300,000 workers, and 1,000 healthy young elephants to transport 5 million tons of materials to build Angkor Wat, totally cost 35 years until finish.

5. Sandstone, the stone used to build national monuments of Cambodia, weighing at least 5 tons, was transported from a quarry 25 miles away.

6. Khmer bricks were joined together by a colorless mixture made of plants, instead of mortar.

7. On the walls of Angkor Wat are thousands of meticulously carved figures and religious stories. There are more than 3000 sculptures of Apsara and Devata carved into the wall.

8. The outer walls of the early period Angkor Wat are integrated around the entire temple, city, and royal palace. It is approximately 203 acres (British measurement), or 820,000 square meters. Today, there is no trace of the wall.

9. Around the end of the 13th century, Angkor Wat was converted from Hinduism to Buddhism. Today, the temples are still used by Buddhists. Overall, Angkor Wat is the home of two religions – Hindu and Buddhism, living together in harmony, and respecting each other’s beliefs.

10. In contrary to many temples of that time, Angkor Wat was headed west, the direction of the death in Hinduism. A lot of archaeologists and scholars disagree about that, asking why the ancient builders chose to go against the “standards” of those times. On the other hand, many people believe that the Khmer King Suryavaman intended to build Angkor Wat as his tomb after he passed away.

11. The reliefs at Angkor Wat are placed anticlockwise, another sign that the temple has a funeral ritual connection.

12. Unusual at the time of construction, Angkor Temple is a tribute to the god Vishnu, a Hindu god, not for the king.

13. The forgotten period has created a spectacular image at Angkor Wat, ancient tree roots wrapped around the temple like a soulmate.

The Stories around Angkor Wat

14. In 1586, the Portuguese pastor Antonio da Madalena was considered the first European to visit Angkor Wat. However, till the mid-19th century, when the French explorer Henri Mouhot wrote a book about the trip discovering Cambodia, Angkor Wat became famous worldwide until today.

15. Long time before the visit of Antonio da Madalena, there was a Chinese envoy Zhou Daguan lived in Angkor Wat for nearly a year (1296-1297). He wrote texts about Angkor Wat with his experiences before 1312. Zhou Daguan’s book is the only document about Angkor Wat in the 13th century, translated into English by Peter Harris in his book: A Record of Cambodia: the Land and Its People.

16. Lara Croft, a movie character played by Angelina Jolie, used to fly, climb, somersault, shoot all kinds here when filming Tomb Raider. During the seven days of filming there, the crew had to pay $10,000 a day.

17. A temple of Angkor named Ta Prohm is famous for its giant creepers. They partially collapse the temple, and were used to set the movie blockbuster Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, too many branches are growing out of control which could crush Ta Prohm, so they must be cut off to not affect the temple.

18. On Nov 1967, Jacqueline Kennedy, the US first lady, had a visit to the temple during the Vietnam War to persuade her “lifelong dream of seeing Angkor Wat”.

19. Angkor Wat is the main reason for most international tourists to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia by bus from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The Cambodian people are very proud of their architecture. Evenly, it was featured on the flag of Cambodia since 1850. Images of Angkor Wat also appear on many denominations of riel, the country’s banknotes.

20. Angkor Wat was accorded a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Nevertheless, the place is unregulated by tourism industry for decades. It is also the place where the artifact robbery occurred. Consequently, many ancient statues were beheaded, and those heads were sold to private collectors, being a part of their collection.
An effort with international cooperation has been execute to restore those places, as well as prevent the destruction due to unstable structure.

21. International funds are the main resources for the Angkor Wat restoration. Only about 28% of ticket sales are returned to the temple.

22. Sokimex, a private company founded by a Vietnamese-Cambodian businessman, has hired Cambodia’s Angkor Wat since 1990 to make a profitable tourism business there. Sokimex also trades in oil and gas, hotel management, complex resorts, and operates Sarika aviation services.

23. More than 2 million tourists visit Angkor Wat every year, making it the most attractive place in Cambodia.

24. A trip to Angkor Wat for 3 days will cost you $62, a one-day trip will cost you $37, or a week will cost you only $72. Hurry up the ticket price is increasing continuously, you should visit the temple ASAP!

25. Tourists do not realize that many surfaces of the Angkor Wat temple have been renovated. Currently, only a few temples are left with old paint stains.

26. It’s Nov 9, Happy Cambodia Independence Day!



I hope you like this post and find it well informed. Here are other interesting posts about Cambodia that I believe you would love reading too:

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