Siemreap (Angkor Wat et Thom)

1/ The city of Siem Reap

Siem Reap and Siem Reap is the capital of the province of Siem Reap, Cambodia located near the Angkor archaeological complex and about 314 km north- west of the capital Phnom Penh.

This city has a colonial architecture and Chinese style especially in the French Quarter and around the Old Market. In town there are Apsara dance festivals, the artisans shops, sericulture farms, rice fields, fishing villages and bird sanctuaries near the Tonle Sap.

It is a growing town because of the booming tourist attraction that represent the Angkor temples since the end of the war and the Khmer Rouge latest attacks took place until 1994. Tourism has particularly accelerated since the 2000s. many hotels have been built and more are under construction thanks to the inflow of foreign capital. Many smaller establishments are concentrated around the Old Market , while more expensive hotels are located between Siem Reap- Angkor International Airport and Siem Reap along National Road 6. There is also a variety of hotels and restaurants middle class along Sivatha Street and in the area of ​​Phsar Leu. There are some earlier buildings independence, called Chinese compartments.

It is also the name of a sacred river tributary of the Tonle Sap.

2/ History Sieamreap
Siem Reap means "Siamese defeated" and evokes a battle between the Siamese and Khmer armies ... and which saw the victory of the latter.

In 1901, the French School of the Far East (EFEO) began a long association with Angkor by performing early work release and photographic documentation at Bayon temple. In 1907, the province of Siem Reap which was under Siamese control for over a century, was returned to Cambodia and EFEO was given the responsibility of clearing, restoration and maintenance of Angkor. She created this for the Angkor Conservation and retains scientific management after independence until the takeover of the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

In the first year, the first tourists arrived in Angkor. In three months, the city recorded 200 visitors which was then never happened before. Consider however that Angkor had been "saved" the jungle is a typical European tropism, which helps to perpetuate the myth of the "discovery" of Angkor by the West - widely exploited in the context of colonial expansion of the nineteenth century . While Angkor Wat was widely known and had remained one of the high places of Buddhist pilgrimage in South -East.

3/ Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat (or Angkor Wat) is the largest and most harmonious temples of Angkor monumental complex in Cambodia. This is one of the best preserved examples of Khmer architecture.

*/ The temple seen from West
Angkor is a dialectal form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit Nagara "royal residence" and vat means "temple" in Khmer. Can be translated by the City Angkor Wat is a temple. Its beauty and size are such that many consider it the eighth wonder of the world.

*/ History of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II (reigned 1113-1150) in the first half of the twelfth century, as already thought Aymonier. At that time, the state temple at the center of the capital, the Baphuon was dedicated to Shiva. Suryavarman II honored as Viṣṇu, he decided to build a new temple to the south of the city. This explains why the entrance of Angkor Wat is oriented to the west (towards Viṣṇu), unlike other Khmer temples. Later, the temple was "hijacked" to worship Buddha with noticeable reshaping of the central sanctuary.

Today, the temple is visited daily by Buddhist monks. Its silhouette appears on the flag of Cambodia.

*/ The enclosure exterior view of the moat
The resort occupies a total area of 1500 meters 1300 meters. Khmer decoration, profuse but harmonious, is mainly made ​​up of representations of gods, men and animals, which fill every flat surface. Fighting legends and episodes are frequent. Floral decorations are reserved for borders, moldings and capitals. The main materials used are of different colors sandstone and laterite. The stone was cut into large blocks assembled with high accuracy without the use of cement, possibly by lapping on site.

*/ The second speaker for the Northwest

Moat and three galleries encircle the central sanctuary. From the west of the complex, a long paved road of 200 meters can cross the moat and leads to a large terrace before the magnificent gopura , which marks the main entrance of the main building.

The first gallery is composed of square pillars outwardly and inwardly a blind wall. The ceiling between the pillars is decorated with lotus rosettes. The outside wall is decorated with blind windows columns, apsaras (celestial nymphs), found on all the galleries, and dancing male figures on prancing animals.

From the first gallery, a decorated avenue naga 350 meters long leads to the second chamber through a park. On either side of this path, first two buildings of unknown use (but commonly called "libraries") and two small basins are encountered. We come to the second gallery flanked by lions on either elevated platform and side of a stairwell. The inner wall of the second gallery is decorated with a bas-relief narrative along its entire length. On the west wall are represented scenes from the epic Mahabharata.

*/ The third enclosure

courtyards

*/ A Library pregnant 2nd

The third gallery defines a space of 150 meters by 200 meters. One enters through a cross-shaped terrace. This space is divided into three levels, connected by numerous external stairs. These levels are decreasing dimensions. Each level consists of a terrace surrounded by a gallery. The higher the sanctuary, which is surmounted in the center of a large pyramid-shaped tower. Towers also overcome the four corners of the terraces on both upper floors. The outer gallery of the central sanctuary, 800 meters lon, is decorated with bas- reliefs depicting scenes from Indian epics or history of Angkor. Three galleries whose vaults are supported by columns conduct three western gates of the third gallery on the second level. They are connected by a transverse gallery, which therefore form four square cuvettes. The gallery is called the south gallery of the thousand Buddhas, because Khmers were wont to leave Buddha statues. Most of them were destroyed during the civil war. On either of these other two libraries are galleries.

Thus, the second level reached by crossing through a gantry another rectangular enclosure. There is a paved area, where there are still two libraries. These courses could originally have been flooded to represent the ocean surrounding the mythical Mount Meru. It is crossed by a short and supported by pillars leading to the third level driveway.

*/ The central sanctuary

Third gallery; north -west tower

One reaches it by twelve very steep stairs, which are difficult to reach the realm of the gods. At the top of these stairs is a paved platform square divided into four courses of two elevated corridors that intersect at right angles. Another raised corridor runs along the outer edge of the platform surrounding the entire level. At each corner of this corridor is a tower and found a fifth in the middle of the platform. These five towers form the well-known Angkor Wat silhouette. The square base of the central tower contains a small shrine on each side, behind which lies the central sanctuary. These sanctuaries are connected by galleries on roofs which represented the body of a snake ending in the heads of lions or Garuda. Lintels and pediments decorate the entrances carved galleries and sanctuaries.

The central shrine was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Viṣṇu, but his gold statue was removed and now found in every shrine of Buddha statues.

4/ Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom was the royal city built by Jayavarman VII (who probably reigned 1181-1220), Buddhist king of the Khmer Empire in the late twelfth century and early thirteenth century, after Angkor was conquered and destroyed by Cham. Its current name, Angkor Thom means "the great city"; its Khmer name was Mahanagara.

This city is located about two miles from the right bank of Siem Reap, a tributary of the Tonle Sap.

*/ The South Gate, view from inside the enclosure

The royal city in the shape of a quadrilateral, about three kilometers in length and width, surrounded by a wall eight meters high surrounded by a moat. In the middle of each of the four walls of the enclosure is a monumental gate, adorned with huge faces of four Grand Kings of the Hindu pantheon and Indra riding his three-headed elephant representation.

These four doors are connected by two perpendicular routes which meet in the center of the chamber where lies the Bayon. A fifth, door Victory lies just north of the east wall of the door (the door of Death) and allowed access to the Elephant Terrace, Royal Palace, by paved road probably for welcome the victorious march. This door is in alignment with the center of the Eastern Baray, marked by Mebon.

Each door is a road that crosses the moat. These roads are guarded on either side by 54 giants, Yaksa, holding the fabulous snake, nāga standing guard before the four great kings.

Constructions Jayavarman VII are representative of their decoration managed by the Khmer between Mahāyāna Buddhism and Hindu worship of Shiva and Viṣṇu syncretism.

*/ Monuments

Inside this enclosure, are the ruins of palaces, temples and other buildings, overgrown. The main ones are: 

The remains of the Royal Palace, built during the reign of Suryavarman I, 150 years before the erection of the enclosure;

Phimeanakas, religious pyramidal structure that is in the same enclosure as the Royal Palace, Heavenly Palace where, according to legend, the king spent the first part of each night with Queen Sun;

The Elephant Terrace overlooking the royal square and which gave the entrance to the Royal Palace and the Terrace of the Leper King, located north of it; 

Bayon temple, temple State Jayavarman VII;

Two small Buddhist temples: Preah Palilay in a single tower, decorated with scenes from the life of Buddha, and Tep Pranam which are still little more than a very large statue of the seated Buddha;

Two buildings whose purpose remains a mystery: North and South KHLEANG bordering the road east of Bayon at the north gate, twelve small Prasat Sour Prat say festive use towers;

Angkor Thom was a management system of sophisticated water:

in the southwest corner, the Bang Thom collects wastewater collected by a current gap at the foot of the wall.

West of the Royal Palace, a small baray was fed by a canal from West Baray in the palace, the great royal mare, about 40m and 120m, the edge is finely carved.

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