Angkor Wat – World’s largest temple.
|Angkor Wat, Cambodia|
In 1860, a french naturalist was cutting his way through the Cambodian jungle in search of exotic insects. Henry Mouhot suddenly came across the last thing he was expecting: a massive complex of stone temples. Muhot had stumbled across one of the world’s most astonishing and enduring architectural feats: the nine hundred year old remains of Angkor Wat. But who built these vast sophisticated temples? Why construct them deep in the jungle only to abandon them? At first there were no answers, then an amazing eyewitness account from the 13th century emerged in China. The author describes the Great temple of Angkor. A fantastic citadel and its resourceful inhabitants. How could this be true? The evidence was scant. Now science is providing unexpected proof. Archeologists are applying the latest techniques to reveal the mysteries of Angkor and radar images from space revealed that Angkor was much bigger than originally imagined. A vast city the size of London. Scientists now know that Angkor wat was just a small part of one of the largest and most sophisticated cities in the world Angkor wat one of the world’s true enigmas; its size and purpose baffling. Larger than any cathedral it is truly one of the greatest structures ever built. Its towers shaped like lotus flowers were raised a hundred years before the cathedral of Chartres in France. The buildings were laid out on a vast scale, stone shrines ascending one upon the other as if reaching for the heavens. Endless corridors are carved with the longest reliefs in the world. The precise construction would be hard to match even with lasers used by Modern surveyors Archaeologist Charles Higham has studied all aspects of Angkor and its inhabitants the khmer. Professor Higham has been crucial to understanding the extraordinary history of this ancient culture. We are standing in the middle of the world’s largest religious monument. It’s absolutely gigantic it stretches on and on. Angkor Wat was the temple mausoleum of one of Angkor’s greatest Kings: King surya Varman the second, the sun King and When he died his ashes would have been placed under the heart of the central register behind me Angkor wat meaning holy Temple is symbolic in every way. Its vast square moat represents the oceans around Mount meru legendary home of the hindu gods when Henri Mouhat stumbled across encore in 1860 he wrote one of these temples Arrival to that of solomon and directed by some ancient, Michelangelo might take an honourable place beside our most beautiful buildings It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome The Frenchman suspected that the temples belong to a huge and sophisticated civilization, but he had no evidence. Angkor wat lies in the Northwest floodplains of Cambodia just above the great Lake. When Mouhot discovered it in 1860 only a handful of buddhist monks and local Villagers lived around the ancient site None of them knew how angkor wat had evolved or who had built it.
|Angkor Wat, Cambodia|
Legend had it that the great temple had built itself, some said that it had always been. In Europe, the publication of Mouhot journal created a sensation Soon a stream of explorers photographers and archaeologists traveled east keen to uncover the mysteries of this vanished world But our Amuro’s part in this puzzle came to a sudden end Bitten by a poisonous insect he died in the jungle the year after discovering the incredible site As early explorers began to strip away the jungle they discovered even more temples the Walls of the vast monuments were covered in intricate carvings These reliefs Illustrate legends of an ancient culture and its religion The Sandstone sections were carved in place. They would have taken the artists decades to complete Inscriptions here are written not only in an ancient Cambodian language But also mysteriously in Sanskrit the priestly language of the hindus One of the great breakthroughs has been the translation of the entire corpus of angkorian inscriptions by a french scholar George sur Des in seven thick volumes and So bit by bit the actual internal history of angkor has been unraveled, and that’s been absolutely critical To the codebreakers they disclose that the sixth centuries ankle had been the capital of the khmer the indigenous people of cambodia Between the 9th and 15th centuries ad a total of 38 Kings ruled their empire from angkor Its Borders reached from Southern Vietnam to Laos and from the mekong river to Eastern Berlin But whose grand Vision was this great city, and why was it built in the middle of the jungle? the deciphering continued then an astonishing discovery was made a Junior Chinese official on a diplomatic mission visited angkor in the summer of 1296 Ad During his year-long visit show doug juan kept a journal his diary tells of a major Civilization a Capital much bigger and more developed than the archaeologists dared imaginable But was show Doug ones account fact or myth archeologists searched for proof of the existence of the City Joe described as They pieced together this gigantic puzzle the full story began to Emerge For thousands of years the indigenous people of cambodia the khmer had cut rice fields from the jungle These farmers were a largely self-contained and peaceful race But from the first century ad small feuding kingdoms developed around the country In the eighth century a great leader emerged to find a site for a brand new sacred capital the abandoned his home city in the Eastern part of Cambodia and ordered all his subjects to cross the mekong river in a great March West Having conquered his rivals. He chose the lush land between the sacred : hills and great lake for his new citadel In 802 ad he had himself crowned Jaya Baumann the Supreme World Emperor King of Kings Jiya Varma’s Charisma one the people over He came not only to rule by divine consent, but to be worshipped as a God himself At a stroke this great and charismatic leader changed the course of Cambodian history Over the next 500 years Jaya varmints descendants living God’s succeeded him to reign in angkor Each King had his own monument built to his glory destined to become his mausoleum Since the second century ad the Kumar’s had practiced hinduism Each of the Royal Temples is modeled on the five peaks of Mount meru the home of the Indian gods For their builders the shrines were a celebration of religion art science and power throughout the first half of the 20th century Cambodia was part of France’s Colonial Empire It was they who led the way in piecing angkor together When they arrived and took colonial control of this part of the world the the place was an absolute shambles I mean there were stones. Just like I found everywhere There’s nothing like what you see today, and so they dedicated vast amount of energy and effort into the reconstruction of the temples in The 1960s the eminent archaeologist been Bernard Phil Croley made this comparison of angkor Imagine that within the city limits of Paris you found thrown together Versailles the place de La Concorde and the Louvre. Surrounding these the cathedrals of Notre-Dame, Chartres, and Rennes flanked by all the churches built in Paris before the 19th century Since Henri Mouhot had first discovered Angkor in 1860 much had been learned about its history But almost nothing was known about the culture responsible for these incredible monuments.
The largest religious monument in the world the city of the gods Angkor Wat in the heart of Cambodia But is this astonishing temple only the visible tip of a greater unseen mystery? 700 Years ago a junior Chinese official visited angkor on a diplomatic mission During his 11 months stay with a cambodian family. He recorded many aspects of life in angkor the Jo Dagwons account contains several flights of Fancy For instance he describes the great temple of angkor wat as having been built in a single day by a legendary Chinese architect He was also Openly judgemental referring to his hosts as barbarians Archeologists have taken his writings with a pinch of salt You’ve always got to think of it as being seen to the eyes of an educated Chinese for whom anyone Beyond the empire was by definition of Barbarians and in reading what he has to say one has to be certainly on occasion judicious in Realizing the prejudices were there For a hundred years french archeologists were too busy restoring the temples to pay the journal much attention. So it was largely ignored Then in the 1970s the murderous regime of POl pot’s stopped all work at angkor His Army of Communist revolutionaries the khmer rouge laid thousands of landmines around the site rendering it off-limits for years Now at last ability has returned to Cambodia and work on the temples has resumed Today angkor has world heritage site protection with a dozen countries funding archaeological research with much of the major restoration work complete the focus has shifted away from the temples at the center and on to the outlying pieces of the puzzle Just north of angkor wat an eight-mile wall encloses the remains of several magnificent stone temples Explorer Henri Mouhot suspected in 1860 that this was once the khmers great capital of angkor thom the Holy City the Perfectly square wall like angkor wat is surrounded by a moat and covers an area the size of Manhattan Island At its center is the Bayon temple In his journal from 1296 show Doug wan describes a busy city teeming with life Archeologists are now looking for evidence the district the great Metropolis. He was describing But any evidence has all but vanished and the Dense forests In the last two years archaeologist Jacques Gouchier has started to excavate the interior of the walled City Farrakhan elicited to the shore applauded when I started this study We knew almost nothing because everything was covered in Forest energy stocks except The only surviving features were the stone temples and the foundation of the Royal palace But we knew nothing of the rest of the 900 hectares within the city wall and clearly others hid firm For a while it seemed that gaucher was fighting a losing battle But his persistence is at last producing results There’s our care unit through the stay mad geeks after two years of very difficult research Conrad formats We that last began to build an impression of this city throughout the city leaders? Gaucher is plotting thousands of coordinates onto an ever more detailed map of angkor thom He is now able to trace an intricate grid system of canals and roads together with the sites of thousands of wooden houses Back in 1860 when Henri Mouhot discovered angkor wat he had suspected that it was just part of a complex City road ugh Juan’s Thirteenth Century Journal alludes to a political and religious citadel Now at last archaeologists have enough evidence to bring to life this extraordinary city as it looked 700 years ago Anchor was a capital far bigger and far in advance of any European city of the time Jacque go shares findings confirm the accuracy of Ja Dagwons account What he describes is fact not fantasy These are the monuments which have cost merchants from overseas to speak so often of Cambodia the rich and noble If you are looking for gold lions gold Buddha’s bronze elephants and Bronze horses. This is where you’ll find them from the inscriptions Archeologists know that angkor thom the holy City was built nearly a century before Joe arrived by the khmers greatest monarch Giovanna in the Seventh Ruled over Cambodia between 1181 and 1219 Known as the great builder king he expanded the empire further than any other khmer ruler Within the City Walls the King Built a palace befitting his mighty empire the Royal Palace stands to the North of the Golden Tower Lintels and Columns all decorated with carved and painted Buddhas are immense The roofs – I impressive long colonnades and open corridors stretch away interlaced in harmonious relation Jaco Shares excavations at the Royal Palace confirm shows account That within City the sukyohama did they We found evidence out of this palace was a large area talking With interconnecting quarters and building a separate band that we found holes 80 centimeters in diameter Four huge supporting Columns, it would have been a very impressive sight like my snout As evidence materializes about the royal palace the role of the Kumar’s rulers these earthly gods becomes clearer During his day Joe Dagwon had several audiences with the Ruling King Every time I was admitted to the palace for an audience with the king He came forward with his chief wife and took his place in the embrasure of the Golden window in the main audience hall Joe himself came from a culture with the Ruler elevated to godhood the Chinese approved of the Kumar’s devotion These people know, what is Stewar King? The king talked to social pyramid that stretched down to the lowest peasant The Monarch Spoken see showed itself in a legend showed up one length out Of the palace rises a golden tower to the top of which the ruler are sent nightly to sleep It is common believed that in the tower dwells a genie Formed like a serpent with nine heads. Which is lord of the entire kingdom Every night the genie appears in the shape of a woman with whom the sovereign couples Should the genie fail to appear for a single night it is a sign that the kings death is at hand If the king should fail to keep his tryst Disaster is sure to follow Well, I’m not sure about that He would have been fine king had he been able to do that at for any length of time but I but what we do know is that it was a practice of the aristocrats to send and the regional Landed Gentry as it were to send up a woman from their family to be a member of the Kings entourage to become a concubine Which would in a sense, bind? The provinces to the center in a very physical manner and they wouldn’t be surprising if indeed the king did have a very substantial harem from which to choose Show doug juan notes that the King had five wives and a harem of 3,000 women The King was rarely seen outside the palace, but Joe describes one such occasion the New Year festival At night comes on the Kings besought to take part in the spectacle the rockets are fired and the crackers touched off The Rockets can be seen from 13 kilometers away the firecrackers largest swivel guns Shakes the whole City Below the King was an army of bureaucrats graded by rank as Joe describes In this country there is a hierarchy of ministers generals astronomers and other functionaries Beneath these come all sorts of small employees Differing only in name from our own These would all have been descendants of families honored by the original Jaya varmint who had founded an corps 500 years earlier What is not clear from Joe’s writings is how many people lived in uncle? Sanskrit inscriptions in Temples such as tarp rom offer valuable clues We know that the temple housed at least 12,000 people including a number of great priests? I think over 650 dancers and various other officiants to maintain the temple and to do the necessary Temple duties If 12,000 people served a single temple, what was the overall population? Jago says new research is not yet complete, but it does support an educated guess to give a number this City could have been between 80,000 90,000 and 150,000 people in The same period The population of London totaled no more than 30,000 So discoveries are confirming that what only was suspected and show doug juan alleges is correct Uncle Tom was indeed a large well-structured city with a huge population Now suspicions are aroused that the jungle conceals and called together bigger surprise And the trouble is so vast that it’s full extent can only be detected from space The search for the hidden Empire of angkor was about to take an unexpected turn In 1994 archaeologists persuaded, Nasa to undertake a unique task The space Agency had developed specialist radar to penetrate vegetation Their challenge was to probe the area of angkor in Cambodia as the space shuttle endeavor passed over Southeast, Asia the resulting images cover an area a hundred kilometers long and ten kilometers wide For the first time scientists have an accurate impression of the wider City’s infrastructure a thousand years ago Covering an area the size of London this rural Metropolis was immense For archaeologist, Elizabeth Moore this is a major breakthrough I’m sure they had a skill to do it it is revolutionizing Understanding of the size of the kingdom cause water up at first people said well you won’t find anything new at angkor But what we have? What the radar has shown us is just how all the regions contributed to what then became the central zone of angkor? the radar pictures also reveal previously unknown temples all over the angkorian basin as Well as an intricate network of Roads and Canals all leading to the Walled City Evident for the first time is the grid plan of this once great metropolis When you start looking at the radar imagery and you see that Sophistication with which they were able to control and all through their terrain I’ve never seen the culture like it elsewhere in Southeast Asia in Terms of manipulating the landscape of using it to their benefit Now the challenge for archaeologists was to work out at ground level what had been photographed from space Archaeologist Christoph Paki is using the images as a route map to trace the layout of ancient angkor The Newly discovered temples were at the center of Their own communities Just like village churches in Europe. They indicate the size of each settlement showing the true extent of the metropolis today 40a and his cambodian assistants in Gender Attempt to locate a number of previously unrecorded ruins outside the walled city of angkor thom wow together It’s a no it’s a quite nice one Right seems to be a garuda and very clearly carried out with his wings exactly legal and place interesting unfortunately has been badly damaged but but it’s nice and compared to the side it could be a late 9th century maybe maybe first part of the 10 Temples like this would have been the centres of Villages housing between one and three hundred people Thought he and his colleagues have established that the number of temple sites like this in the region runs into thousands suggesting a massive population There was a direct relationship between these Villages and the royal capital An ancient inscription persuades archaeologists like Charles Higham of the link We know that at least an eighty thousand or so people from three thousand Villages were assigned to Supply all the goods that we needed annually to maintain us in a good condition vast amounts of produce and thousands of people would have been transported from the Villages a Complex Network of Roads leading to the Center is evident from the NaSa pictures the inscriptions point to the Great Builder King Jayavarman Jive Armand the seventh was a fantastic builder across his whole kingdom he had roads constructed he was a great man for infrastructure one reason being that he wanted pilgrims to go and visit his places and So he had rest houses built at one day’s journey apart he moved and shaped more stone than every other gang Korean king combined and And he must go down in world history as one of the great builders of all time if all the outlying temples were connected in one giant conurbation then angkor can be acknowledged as a rural metropolis as big as Modern-day London At its heart a walled Royal enclaved the size of Westminster There are hundreds with a thousand of that kind of smaller sanctuaries sprayed or around the IRa of hong Kong with the larger Hong Kong and It’s not sure obviously when there was feed age Everyone almost everywhere Early research suggests that this metropolis could have had a population of a million people This would make angkor at its peak between the 11th and 13th centuries one of the largest cities in the world The indigenous cambodians the khmer were powerful and successful They managed to build one of the most extraordinary cities in history in one of the world’s most hostile climate But how was such a large population able to survive and prosper in the heart of an email spit or jungle? The answer lies in the commands ability to harness their most precious asset Cambodia has 8 months without rain when rivers become a muddy trickle then for a few months the Monsoon brings floods For this reason the anko is build close to the great lake which swells to four times its size in the rainy season It not only provided precious water throughout the year, but also an inexhaustible supply of fish Boudreau Dagwon records Of all the fish the black carp is the most abundant Next in number detent and freshwater congas the prawns of char and weigh as much as half a kilo Apiece Crocodiles their ice large as boats Apart from fish the Staple diets like most of Asia was rice Paddy Fields need a plentiful supply of water to ensure a healthy crop When the founding Ruler Jaya Varman arrived at angkor there were already peasant Farmers cultivating ancient Rice fields But from the 9th to the 13th centuries successive. God kings ordered thousands more acres of jungle to be cleared for rice production Water had to be cleverly harnessed to irrigate the New Fields If the system failed the very survival of the kingdom would be at stake Well maintained canals were also crucial to uncle Every day tons of heavy stones for the construction of temples will be transported by canal from the Coulomb field Planning expert Jaga believes the success of angkor is due to the elaborate system of interconnecting waterways You are tanks of ponds which are dead to keep also this water and you have some canonization this royal palace is full of small Canalization the City is full of channels and the outside theatre is also full of big channels this systems Which are different level of scale they must have been connected to each other? It was the khmers ability to harness water that made them unique While the dutch were experimenting with their first canals the khmer were already past masters The most recent excavation by jacques osha reveals the complexity of khmer water management within the Royal city his surveys have uncovered two huge reservoirs each measuring 300 metres long and 20 metres wide a Major Road intersected them Water needed to flow around the city What go shire wanted to know was how the road could be used while water still flowed from one reservoir to the other? So he began to dig the excavation unearthed the stone dike where the road and reservoirs met It also shows that the reservoirs were built on slightly different levels Beneath the surface of the Road narrow channels in the dike allow water to filter from the upper reservoir into the lower But the arrangement may have been too finely balanced Playing at such a scale with the management of water With such small differences of level. I think the system was quite fragile, and if there were any variability in the environment Or in the maintenance of the city for social problems of political ones I think the precision I mean the ultra Sophistication can can have been a weakness in the system in a way This complex system provided water throughout the royal city for drinking cooking and even bathing Cambodia is an excessively hot country and it is impossible to get through the day without fading several times There are no valve houses no basins However every family has a pond or several families of one in common men and women go naked into this pond the construction of extensive water systems and great stone temples in the jungle Demanded colossal manpower Why would the command be prepared to devote so much of their year toiling in the King’s name? Why was it that the peasantry out there in the field? Contributed so much labour Willingly it seems to the maintenance of the center and the answer may well be that they really believed that the king Was a god and they were working in the service of the deity and this kept them going oh I think without a doubt I fully agree with you right you couldn’t have built city of angkor without that kind of firm belief But although the khmer people dedicated enormous effort into constructing their great city It was the addition of slave labor that made it possible Show describes these unfortunates Wild men from the hills can be bought to serve as slaves families of wealth may own more than 100 those of lesser means content themselves with ten or twenty Only the very poor have none we know – again from the inscriptions that some of them had a very raw deal there was one who tried to escape from the land to which he was in which he was born and was and was assigned and they found him then they brought him back and They gouged his eyes out and cut off his ears Punishment was severe for all subjects of angkor noted the Chinese diplomat In very serious cases a digits dug outside the city The Criminal is dropped into it Earth and stones are heaped on top until he is buried alive Lesser Crimes are dealt with by cutting off feet or hands or by amputating the nose The economy of angkor was based on international trade The Kumar’s produced food for their swelling population, but there was a surplus for trade with neighboring States They won’t find cloth cast huge bronze statues and exported ivory Kingfisher feathers Beans Wax and sent abroad their main Trading partner was China the reliefs of the Bayan reveal a Chinese trade junk coming across the waters of the great lake just south of angkor and we know that there was indeed a great deal of trade going on because of the more recent archaeological research that has been Excavating in the royal palace and there they’ve been unearthing a considerable quantity of Chinese ceramics Jaguars Delegation were not the only chinese in angkor in fact Chinese settlers had been there for years The Chinese always take a wife here as soon as they arrive deriving additional benefit from the woman’s business skills in Cambodia it is the women who take charge of trade. There are no shops in which the merchants live instead They display their goods on matting spread on the ground women held positions of power and Authority They owned property engaged in trade and even served as bodyguards to the King But the Chinese interest in cambodian women was not driven Solely by trade Everyone with whom I talked said that the cambodian women are highly sexed One or two days after giving birth to a child they are ready for intercourse if the husband is not Responsive he will be discarded By the end of the 13th century angkor was at its peak a succession of God Kings had built this beautiful and astonishing City a Sophisticated water system made the City work Fed its people and created wealth But then at its very peak cracks in the system began to appear Cracks that would lead to the city being abandoned to the jungle It took nearly 500 years for angkor to grow – the vast city that the Chinese diplomat show dog juan described in 1296 Yet, just a century later the City lay deserted given up to the jungle But why throughout history there are a few examples of cities being totally abandoned One key Factor is known throughout and cause history the khmer had waged war with their neighbors In the early years of angkor the Vietnamese chams were the khmer sworn enemies Most of the Temple Walls around the Capitol depict Epic battles against the chance But by the time of jaw dog wonka with the main threat came from the emerging Thai kingdom of siam as it expanded into Cambodia Here comes recently during the war with Siam whole Villages have been laid waste In the diplomats eyes the khmer army was ill-prepared for war Soldiers move about unclothed and their foot in the right hand is carried a lance in the left a shield They have no bows no missiles. No breastplate and no helmets Generally speaking these people have neither disciplined nor strategy inscriptions show that in 1431 the thais sacked angkor they looted everything possible to enslave them much of the population including the Kings entire hiring and Carried them off to Thailand Abandoned the city of angkor was slowly reabsorbed into the jungle from which it had emerged five centuries before re Moreau wrote in 1861 Must ask what has become of this powerful race so civilized and enlightened to create these gigantic works The conventional explanation is that the empire’s rulers lost their grip on power and the tithe simply scared them off? but the mystery of angkor takes another twist Today archaeologists believe that there were other factors at work Charles Higham points to the Great Builder King Jayavarman the seventh perhaps because of the excesses of Giovanna and the seventh who who clearly was a builder with a Frenzy of activity and He may well, it said that I might be true that he exhausted the resources of the state and it went into a decline Jar Varman the Seventh was the first buddhist king after several hundred years of Hindu worship This more compassionate religion may have given the khmer calls to reflect on the excessive their kings I Wonder whether in fact the the slow decline that may well have set in was the result of a lack of Belief out in the field there that the king was in fact a deity and that this vital link between the two began to fray Did you hack go share theorizes that while the khmers success can be attributed to the harnessing of water? It could also have led to that undoing Such was the fine balance of nature that if irrigation and the storage of water were not kept up they could easily fall into disrepair List Emerson Mirada Jeff Hegelian what heavier the water system was very fragile because it was so sophisticated So and the problem is if it’s not well maintained it it could easily become blots by Seda members of their following in City, Modesto The Kings who came after John baum in the seventh were less interested in Grand building plans It’s also possible. They stopped maintaining the intricate water system Deforestation was also a likely contributor So much jungle had been cut back for rice growing that undoubtedly the rivers and canals would have silted up Which in turn would have led to an ecological disaster for the command? Kristof Pottier believes the clues are objects the balinese 30 of s with the water at the end of all cords pieces of the Forest should have been very very rare very Different station is an issue is not a new program. It’s an old one It is most likely that it was a combination of these factors that led the khmer to Abandon their once great city What remained of the khmer court re-established itself on the banks of the mekong near Cambodia’s present-day capital of Phnom penh? We’re not talking about the actual collapse and total demise of a civilization What happened was that they moved sensibly to the east down to the mekong river and away from the Thais? Now completely buddhist renouncing material wealth the khmer would never again embrace the lofty heights. They had in ankle For 400 years and call a derelict and forgotten until it’s Rediscovery by or removal in 1860 Today angkor is recognized as a wonder of the world in Cambodia’s new Era of stability archeologists from around the world continue to make fresh discoveries at last a world lost to the jungle is Reimagine a Major Metropolis that for over half a millennium dominated a thriving empire One of the greatest cities the world has ever known you.