The Terrace of the Elephants

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom, meaning Great Capital, was one of the largest cities of the Khmer Empire. It was founded by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. It is a walled city surrounded by a moat, housing numerous buildings, including Bayon, with its famous compassionate faces, The Terrace of the Elephants, The Terrace of the Leper King, Phimeanakas (Royal Palace) and Baphuon. These are some of the most visited sites in what is now Angkor Archaeological Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia. Tourism management and conservation are two of the main topics facing the future of these very special places.

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple stands in the center of Angkor Thom, an ancient walled capital of the Khmer civilization in Cambodia. The site was used as the king’s state temple. Today Bayon is known for its numerous large compassionate faces decorating its towers, and for its exceptional bas-reliefs depicting the daily life of the Khmer people. The fascination with its faces has led to Bayon being one of the most toured sites in Angkor Archaeological Park, bringing immense challenges for tourism management and conservation.

The Terrace of the Elephants

The Terrace of the Elephants is a highly carved pavilion, featuring  bas-reliefs elephants of various sizes. The site was constructed in the ancient Khmer walled-city of Angkor Thom in the 12th century. It was used as a reception platform for  King Jayavarman VII to view his victorious army returning from battle. The terrace received much damage over the centuries but reconstruction and conservation efforts have brought it back to life, much to the pleasure of tourists visiting Angkor.

The Terrace of the Leper King

The Terrace of the Leper King is a highly carved pavilion that may have been used for funerary purposes. It is part of the royal terraces located within the walled city known as Angkor Thom, which today, is part of Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia. It garnered its name from explorers who thought its moss-covered statue of Yama, the god of death, reminded them of a leper. The restored archaeological crypt allows visitors to see the two phases of its original construction.

Baphuon

Baphuon Temple is located within the walled-city of Angkor Thom, which today is part of Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia. Baphuon was originally a temple-mountain dedicated to Shiva, but it sustained much damage over the centuries. It is one of the most extensive restoration projects at Angkor, lasting many decades. The site was not accessible during our visit.

Prasat Phimean Akas

Phimeanakas, or Prasat Phimean Akas, meaning celestial temple, was once part of the Royal Palace compound located in Angkor Thom, and housed the Khmer kings for several centuries. The site may have been a royal chapel. Today it is part of Angkor Archaeological Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia. Unfortunately due to time constraints, we were not able to venture further than the royal terrace and the outer gate.


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