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Angkor Wat Architecture

Angkor Wat is located in Angkor Cambodia. It was built as the state temple, during Suryavarman’s rule. Suryavarman built this temple to replace the old state temple and to dedicate it to his god Vishnu; the new temple was built south of the old, now called, “capital. ” The temples site measures 1300 meters north to south and 1500 east to west, in contrast to preexisting temples, Angkor Wat faces west towards Vishnu. Surrounding the site is a 200 meter wide moat used as defense protection and also to water the rice harvest.

Also surrounding the site is a high laterite wall. You can enter the site from two sides at one you will approach the “entrance causeway” that leads you over the 200 meter wide moat and on the opposite side there is a 230 meter (north to south) “entrance pavilion. ” The pavilion has central bays with three openings designed for royal processions; they are large enough for elephants to fit through. Once you are past the entrance gate you will be confronted with a long causeway decorated with naga (mythical snake like figures) that extends 300 meters.

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There are two buildings, one located on each side of the causeway, called libraries but their function remains unknown. You will also find two small pools as you near the temple. The central temple is surrounded by the “first enclosure” (an outer wall) that is raised 3. 3 meters above the ground. There is a continuous gallery along the outer face of the wall and the inner face is decorated with continuous bas reliefs running 700 meters. The temple itself is raised one meter above the ground on a sandstone plinth and the exterior perimeter is decorated with naga balustrades.

East of the west gate you will find series of rooms in the shape of a cruciform, each surrounded by a continuous gallery that has a sunken floor from where a pond once existed. The famous “Gallery of a thousand Buddahs” is located on the southern arm of the cruciform. There are two more libraries located on the north and south side of the west cruciform arm. Connected to the Western Cruciform by stares you will find the second enclosure. It is raised on a 5. 8 meters base. When you are inside the courtyard you will be confronted with more libraries, smaller than the previous ones mentioned, yet their function is still unknown.

Resting on a two tiered, 11 meter tall pyramid is the inner enclosure, which is only accessed after climbing the unbearably steep stairs leading to its entrance way. On the upper terrace there is an inner cruciform composed of four rooms and is enclosed by another continuous gallery. The cruciform now looks like passageways because the wooden doors were removed from what once was a series of shrines. From the upper tier there are five towers that jut out in a quincunx arrangement, the central tower raising 65 meters above ground.

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