Scattered over an enormous area between the Tonle Sap lake and the Kulen Mountains in Cambodia, Angkor contains the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire. After the fall of the empire the Angkor temples were abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle for centuries. Situated amid dense rainforest and rice paddies, many of the temples at Angkor have now been restored and welcome over two million tourists each year.
Angkor Wat is the largest, and most famous temple in a city of temples. Together with the Bayon, it contains the most magnificent carvings of all the Angkorian temples. Mysteriously, Angkor Wat is the only temple mountain at Angkor that was designed to be approached from the west rather than the east.
Angkor served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. The hundreds of temples surviving today are but the sacred skeleton of the vast political, religious and social center of the ancient empire. At its zenith the city boasted a population of one million people, the largest preindustrial city in the world.
It is still the heart and soul of Cambodia and a source of national pride to all Khmers as they struggle to rebuilt their country after years of terror. Angkor Wat is one of the wonders of the world and a must-visit destination for any traveler to the region.