Considered one of the largest archeological sites in the world, the Angkor complex is home to the remains of the capital of the Khmer Empire, which existed from the 9thto the 15thcenturies.  The massive territory covered much of what we call now Southeast Asia, from the tip of the Indochinese Peninsula to Yunnan province in China and from Vietnam westward to the Bay of Bengal.  The Angkor archeological site is found in northwestern Cambodia near the town of Siem Reap, where some of the villages in the region have been in existence since the Angkor period.


A dynasty of Khmer kings ruled the Empire from the city of Angkor, tapping into the riches and labor of the region to build substantial construction projects designed to glorify themselves, their capital city and their gods.  They built a system of reservoirs, canals and moats for the purpose of water control and rice irrigation as well as an abundance of temples, communications routes, palaces, public buildings and houses.

Although hundreds of temples and other structures survive today, the most impressive is the Temple of Angkor Wat, which is on the Cambodian flag.  The magnificent temple, built as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu, is a colossal structure filled with artistic treasures such as the bas-relief galleries lining many walls that tell tales of Cambodian history and legend. 


By the 16thcentury, the city was abandoned, leaving only the jungle-covered remains of the ancient temples and the ruins of the system of canals and reservoirs. 


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