Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Angkor's Ancient Enormity Uncovered

August 13, 2007—The largest religious complex in the world, Cambodia's Angkor Wat (pictured) is the jewel in the vast Angkor archaeological site.

The lost city was an ancient wonder of urban sprawl, according to a new survey that uncovered 74 temples and more than a thousand artificial ponds in Angkor's "suburbs."

The Khmer Empire's King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat between A.D. 1113 and 1150 to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. Carved from soft sandstone, the temple complex's statues crumbled and toppled in the wake of Angkor's decline. Still guarded by a 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) moat, the restored Angkor Wat today fuels a booming tourist trade at the modern town of Siem Reap.



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