Prasat Chau Srei Vibol

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Prasat Chau Srei Vibol
Native Nameប្រាសាទ​ចៅ​ស្រី​វិបុល
TypeTemple, Ancient City
CommuneBalangk (?)
DistrictPrasat Bakong
ProvinceSiem Reap
Coordinates13.41794, 104.02314
FoundedEarly 11th Century
BuilderSuryavarman I
Art StyleKhleang

467 Prasat Chau Srei Vibol 1.jpg
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Site Size & Condition: Large RuinSite Size & Condition: Ancient City Prasat Chau Srei Vibol (ប្រាសាទ​ចៅ​ស្រី​វិបុល - Pronounced: Pra-saht Jow Srei Vee-bol) is situated some 16kms east of the main Angkor site on the ancient road leading to Prasat Beng Mealea and Prasat Preah Khan (Kampong Svay). This large site is highly confusing due to both its geological situation and highly ruinous condition as well as the lack of any inscriptions at the temple. A huge moat, now mainly filled, stretches around 1.5kms east-west and 1km north-south while the central shrine and inner enclosure are sited on a steep, 25-30m high rocky outcrop. The large enclosed area represents what would have been a substantial satellite town of the nearby capital.

The site is ascribed to the reign of Suryavarman I although it is possible it was at least begun by Jayavarman V in the late 10th-century. An outer wall, within the moated section, has small gopuras on each side along with a larger eastern one while a small reservoir is situated in the southwest corner of the complex and a curious galleried cruciform structure is found at the foot of the south stairs to the central shrine. The latter is sometimes named Prasat Khleang as it is considered by some as a store or 'warehouse' structure but it is an integral part of the overall site and does not in our opinion warrant separate status. (It is in relatively good condition with the roof largely intact.)

The central, inner enclosure - offset to the east - includes the main shrine on a high base, 2 'libraries' and a surrounding gallery with 4 gopuras - all in sandstone. The main gopura is on the east side although this is where the crag is steepest so abrupt and wide laterite stairs lead down towards the outer, eastern entrance. Certain sections, such as the south 'library' and aforementioned cruciform structure are relatively well preserved while others, including the central shrine, are scenes of total and unnatural devastation. Chams, Siamese and more recent looters have all been blamed for what is clearly the hand of man.

Few decorations remain in situ although with such enormous piles of masonry around it's difficult to tell. The modern Wat Preah Chau Srei Vibol lies within the moat, just to the north of the main temple. Although in very ruined condition the site is both unusual and atmospheric and a rarely visited one. Strongly recommended but note that the area was formerly heavily mined so be careful going off-piste!

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