Luxury Angkor Wat Tours

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Imagine an expanse of 12th century stone temples rising above the jungle of northwestern Cambodia, and you have the focal point of today's luxury Angkor Wat tours. Discovered by botanist Henri Mouhot in 1860, these ruins were designated a World Heritage site in 1992. Like the Pyramids, the Angkor Wat complex is in fact a funerary temple for its builder.

Luxury Angkor Wat Tours: A Preview

As expert guides to luxury Angkor Wat tours will explain, the primary temple was built by Suryavarman II between about 1130 and 1150. Promptly dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, this complex is one of several built as Suryavarman warred with neighboring kingdoms and eventually died, leaving his own domain weakened. Angkor Thom, built by Jayavarman VII about 50 years later, is a monument to Buddhism. These two are Angkor's most imposing monuments.

As you--in the midst of any luxury Angkor Wat tours--are guided along the avenues, courtyards, and intricate stonework of this vast architectural complex, you'll learn that as much stone went into the city of Angkor and its many temple complexes as into the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Angkor, too, was a thriving metropolis at about the same time that Europe wallowed in the Middle Ages. It is built of sandstone, presumably quarried many miles away and taken to Angkor by river.

The seat of the old Khmer kingdom, one of southeast Asia's most sophisticated and prosperous, the city of Angkor enjoyed its heyday from the 9th century to the 14th. The kingdom was also the largest in that part of the world at the time. Encompassing--at its greatest extent--from the Bay of Bengal in the west to Vietnam in the east and today's Chinese Yunnan Province, it declined during the 14th and 15th centuries. The city was sacked in 1431 by the Thais, who moved the capital to Phnom Penh.

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