Angkor Thom

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Angkor Thom
Native Nameអង្គរធំ
Alternative nameAngkor Tom, Nokor Thom, Yasodharapura
TypeAncient City
Part ofYasodharapura III, Angkor
CommuneNokor Thom
DistrictSiem Reap Municipality
ProvinceSiem Reap
Coordinates13.44056, 103.85964
FoundedLate 12th Century
BuilderJayavarman VII
Art StyleBayon
DeityBuddha, Lokeshvara
UNESCO Inscription1992

369 Angkor Thom 2.jpg
(one vote)

Site Size & Condition: Ancient City Angkor Thom (អង្គរធំ - Pronounced: Ong-kor T'om)

Housing numerous different sites from a wide variety of eras the huge city of Angkor Thom seen today owes much of its appearance to Jayavarman VII's works in the late 12th, early 13th centuries. It's probable that much of Yasovarman I's capital, Yasodharapura, lying just to the south was ruined, or at best badly damaged, during his sons' war of succession in the early 10th century with their uncle who was to become Jayavarman IV. When Rajendravarman moved the capital from Koh Ker back to Angkor in the mid-10th century a new location, slightly northeast, seems to have been chosen for his capital of Rajendrapura, or Rajendravapura. (1)

It's possibly not until the early 11th-century that Suryavarman I appears to have migrated the city westwards to its current site with the completion of Prasat Phimeanakas and constructions around the subsequent Angkor Thom Royal Palace area. With minor adjustments, the site was then to remain the capital until the 14th century. (Perhaps for prestige reasons the city seems to have kept the old name of Yasodharapura for much of this time.)

Whatever the shape and size of the city during intervening periods today's impressive walls, wide moat, spectacular gates and entrance causeways were constructed then by Jayavarman VII after his liberation of the city from Cham control in the late 12th-century, with his state temple, Prasat Bayon located at the central, focal point. The 8m laterite walls weigh in at 3kms on each side and 5 iconic gates pierce the walls. (See Angkor Thom Khloung Thvear Chey, Angkor Thom Khloung Thvear Khmoch, Angkor Thom Khloung Thvear Ta Keo, Angkor Thom Khloung Thvear Ta Nok, Angkor Thom Khloung Thvear Tonle Om.) Today dense forest fills most of the intra-mural area with temple sites mainly concentrated in the north-central section.

(Please note, while CISARK's site number 369 refers specifically to the moat and walls, we're using it, in this case, to refer to the entire city.)

[1] The name is disputed so for BA purposes please refer to what we are calling Yasodharapura II.

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