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Home Asia Cambodia Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom E-mail
Asia - Cambodia
09 June 2010

Blue and black butterfly in ruins near Ankor Thom

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Angkor Thom was the living heart of the Angkor kingdom and featured many different structures. We were especially struck by the Prasat Bayon complex with corridors, precipitous flights of stairs and, the very best of all, a collection of 54 gothic towers decorated with 216 coldly smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara looking in the four cardinal directions. They interestingly enough show a stunning resemblance to Cambodia's legendary king Jayavarman, who ordered the temple built. Some say the Khmer empire consisted of 54 provinces at the time of construction of Bayon and the all-seeing eyes representing a watch of the kingdom's outlying subjects.

Another structure named Baphuon would have been one of the most spectacular temples of Angkor's, had it not been taken apart according to the anastylosis method by EFEO archaeologists. But not the taking apart was the real problem, because during the restauration, the civil war broke out and paused the restauration for a quarter of a century.  The records of the taking apart procedure had been carefully archived on paper. An then the Khmer Rouge came. They burned all archives and left archeologists of years to come with the biggest jigsaw puzzle mankind had ever known. Archeologists are still working on it today.