The temples in the Cambodian jungle have long been among the iconic masterpieces of humankind. They are both the pride of their country and a source of income.
Angkor spreads over 200 square kilometers, Angkor Vat is undoubtedly the central core of the temple complex, and King Suryamvarman II of the Khmer King had this massive temple built for almost 40 years, which he consecrated to the Hindu goddess Vishnu after its completion. When the Khmer turned to Buddhism in the 12th century, the temple was given its name “Vat,” “temple.”
Among the thousands of tourists who visit Angkor Vat every year, bringing the urgently needed foreign exchange from the Khmer Rouge and the civil war to Cambodia, Dr. Ronald Kasten also provided us with these photos some time ago, to get an impression of the beauty of this place:
Angkor was the center of the Khmer Empire, which also ruled the region between the 9th and 14th centuries. During these centuries they also built the temples as a strong legacy for their descendants, who still make up the most significant part of Cambodia’s population today. Their original dedication to Hindu deities can even be seen in many of the ruins, for it was only under King Jayavaram III that the people turned to Buddhism.
Two centuries later their downfall began when Thai invaders conquered the empire and in the following centuries fought with the Vietnamese for supremacy in the region. Large parts of present-day Vietnam still belonged to the Khmer territories at that time, which finally became Vietnamese only in the 17th century. Later, the Kingdom of French Protectorate partly turned into the French colony Indochina. Cambodia achieved independence in 1953, but 20 years later was shaken by the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror.