Temple of Angkor Wat
The Angkor Wat Temple is located in present day Cambodia in the city of Siem Reap, about 200 miles from Phnom Penh. (Cambodia's capital). The city of Angkor was the largest city in the world before the Industrial Revolution. The population of Angkor was about 1,000,000 people.
The temple of Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by Suryavaram II. The temple was constructed to represent Mt. Meru and originally was built a Hindu temple but later became a Buddhist temple. According to bibles the gods lived at the summit of Mt. Meru. Different parts of the temple represented different things (oceans, mountain ranges, etc.). The city of Angkor became a pilgrimage destination. Buddhist monks came about the temple and made stories and fables about it. Angkor Wat was at one point in time the capital of the Khmer Empire.
The religion that is practiced at Angkor Wat is actually pretty interesting. When Angkor Wat was originally built, it was a Hindu temple. Later, it was converted to a Buddhist temple. So in present time, Angkor Wat is a Buddhist temple.
Interesting Facts -
- 50% of Cambodia's tourists come for Angkor Wat.
- Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world.
- The temple is associated with funeral rituals.
- Jacqueline Kennedy visited the temple during the Vietnam War.
- Angkor ruins cover over 248 square miles.
- Most of the money to restore the temples came from foreign aid.
- Many surfaces of the temple were painted at one time but, there are very few traces of paint left.
- The movie Lara Croft was filmed there.
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