Siem Reap - Angkor Temples - a World Heritage place
I am so glad that today the connection has worked - yesterday I tried again and again - no chance.
We have reached the heart of our trip - the huge area of just amazing temples situated in parts of jungle. We saw Angkor Wat, the most famous (and the most densely visited) temple complex on our day of arrival after five in the afternoon. If one buys the 3-days tickets one can go in for free the night before. This was great because when we came most of the crowds had already left and it was more bearable to concentrate.
The proportion of the building activities (9th to 12th century) are just mind blowing. One arrives through the jungle at a huge water channel-enclosure around Angkor Wat being at the same time defence, water source for irrigation channels, but with a divine connection of water/power/life/ancestors/heaven. How several men who established themselves as conqueror, emperor and God, could think of such projects, activate all the necessary builders, bring in the materials (the landscape is completely flat, swampy or sandy and mountains are far away!) The entire concept is one of extraordinary far-sightedness, building on the construction skills of the predecessors with confidence. The aim is to conquer, occupy, convince, join together the people of the land and rain over them.
The temple of Angkor Wat itself and in its setting looks great from far and is very big but we have seen here several temples and also more impressive ones.
By the way, if you want to see some pictures I have not managed to bring them to this BLOG - it takes too long to copy each one separately across. BUT you can visit another website, where I have stored yesterday a few just to not disappoint you completely. The main sequence of photos is on Klaus' camera and I shall sort them out at home. But if you are curious, have a look at:
There are some photos, if you double-click on them they enlarge to a reasonable size.
Yesterday we saw the temple complex of Angkor Tom, of a later king. When Angkor town had been destroyed by Vietnamese intruders, in 1177-1230 the emperor Jayavartman VII re-established Khmer power and he built his temple Bayon on top of the destroyed burnt wooden town. The base of this temple is decorated with many beautiful sandstone freezes showing fights and daily live in the 12th century. But to really make sure that nobody thinks to get away from the emperor, he had put up 216 enormous faces of him staring in all directions. Although masses of visitors, many Asians but also Australians, Americans and some Europeans, incredibly crowded the corridors, we had a great and interesting time up there.
Today more temples – different and most atmospheric is Ta Prohm, created in the woods and the jungle having nearly taken over again: huge trees are overgrowing and partly destroying the walls - I shall try to bring more pictures into the bucket later on.
I hope you have a little idea of what can be seen here. It is however very sad to read in the Lonely Planet that only 10 % of the Million visitors' entrance fees goes back into temple conservation. The rest is shared by a Petrolium Company who manages the visitor business and to the Finance Ministry and who knows what happens to the money by then. The only excuse is that Angkor is the biggest industry and income for the country.
Very best wishes to all of you
Klaus and Friederike
1 Kommentar 20.1.08 12:22, kommentieren
David (25.1.08 18:50)
Thank you for "feeding" this blog, even if it seems not always to be easy, which I understand!...but what a wonderful trip!
Many kisses to you and Klaus, from me and Agnieszka.