Angkor Thom City

Angkor Thom City (or the Great City) was the last capital of Angkor, the religious and administrative center of the Khmer empire. It was built in the late 12th or early 13th century by King Jayavarman VII after he defeated and ousted the Chams from Angkor in 1181AD. It covers an area of about 9 square kilometres that contain the famous Angkor Thom temples. Enclosing the city there is an eight meter high square laterite wall. Each side is 3 kilometers long and a moat 100 meters wide surrounds the wall. The city is accessed through 5 gates, one for each cardinal point plus Victory Gate on the east that accesses the Elephant and Leper King Terraces. The roads from the five gates lead to Bayon, the King's temple-state, situated at the centre of the city of Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom supposedly had a population of about 1 million and was larger than any other city in Europe at the time. Within the city wall there were the residences of the King, his family, officials, military officers and priests. The rest of the population lived outside the enclosed city. The royal residences were built of wood and have not survived the passing of time. Only the stone monuments dedicated to the Gods and Kings remain of this once magnificent and mighty city.

Entrance Gopura at Angkor Thom, Siem Reap.

Entrance gopura at Angkor Thom, Siem Reap.

Zhou Daguan writes in the 14th century...

"These are the monuments (at Angkor Thom city) which have caused merchants from overseas to speak so often of 'Cambodia the rich and noble'".

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