Kraol Romeas (Nokor Krau)

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Kraol Romeas
Native Nameក្រោលរមាស
Alternative nameKraol Damrei, Krol Romeas
K InscriptionK.714
Inscr. LocationUnknown
Part ofAngkor
VillageNokor Krai
CommuneNokor Thom
DistrictSiem Reap Municipality
ProvinceSiem Reap
Coordinates13.45822, 103.86349
Founded12-13th Century (?)
BuilderJayavarman VII (?)
Art StyleBayon
UNESCO Inscription1992

723 Kraol Romeas (Nokor Krau) 1.jpg
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Site Size & Condition: Wall Kraol Romeas (ក្រោលរមាស - Pronounced: Krowl Romeers)

Krol (Kraol) Romeas, located just north of Angkor Thom, is a unique, oval-shaped enclosure of some 40 x 50m, surrounded by a thick laterite wall. There are no decorations or sandstone elements and its purpose seems to have been functional rather than religious.

The name translates as rhinoceros enclosure (1) although the clue is in its alternative title, Kraol Damrei, or elephant enclosure. Under normal circumstances, stone (as well as laterite and brick) was only permitted for religious structures with bridges being the sole exception to the rule. However, Kraol Romeas seems to have been constructed as an enclosure for elephants - positioned just outside the main area of the city but still convenient for all the parades and royal ceremonies in front of the nearby Terrace of the Elephants - and since the pachyderms would have destroyed any wooden fence and swum any moat, it seems, in this case, a second exemption was made.

Strangely, an iconic and much-reproduced sculpture of a seated figure - often considered to be Jayavarman VII himself - was recorded as having been unearthed at this site and is now housed in the National Museum of Cambodia. (Quite how such a prestigious artefact ended up buried in an elephant stable is undoubtedly an interesting tale.)

(1) Incidentally, the Sanskrit loan word kraol for animal pen or enclosure may well be a cognate of the modern English word corral.

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