11 Things You Don’t Know About Angkor Wat

If you are a travel freak (which you probably are if you are reading this blog) and enjoy visiting historical sites than you must have heard about Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is home to hundreds of temples making it one of the world’s largest religious sites. You probably already knew this fact just like you know that it has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1992. But here are a few things about Angkor Wat that you certainly don’t know.

1. City Temple

Once the capital of Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat literally means City Temple in Sanskrit. It was more than just a temple and housed libraries, schools, and moats among other structures.

2. City Beneath the Complex

This might come as a surprise but according to a research published in the Guardian in 2016, there is archaeological evidence that multiple medieval cities are buried under the ground near Angkor Wat.

3. Temple of Vishnu

Angkor Wat was originally erected as a temple dedicated to Vishnu, a god in Hindu mythology and was named the sacred dwelling of Vishnu. But by the start of the 13th century, the structure was transformed into a Buddhist temple.

4. Stegosaurus Carving

Ta Phrom, the temple inside the Angkor Wat complex is famous for two things. One, it appeared in the Tomb Raider movie and two, it has a carving that resembles stegosaurus dinosaur.

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA – MARCH 26: A carved relief of what is believed to be a Stegosaurus dinosaur at the ancient Khmer temple of Ta Prohm, part of the Angkor Wat temple complex, on March 26, 2012 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The temples (wat) of Angkor were built between the 9th and 15th centurys and are visited by more than one milion tourists per year. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

5. Facing the Other Way

Angkor Wat was and still is the only temple that faces west while the rest of the temples in the region face east. It is said that Vishnu is a supreme deity and the temple was designed to face west so other temples could face it and establish the superiority of Vishnu.


6. The Three Tiers

The three towering tiers were intentionally designed to invoke spirituality and represented Vishnu, Brahma, and the moon.

Details of the central tower at the East Mebon temple ruins, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. East Mebon temple was built in the second half of 10th century. Built in the general style of Pre Rup, East Mebon has two enclosing and three tiers.

7. An Archaeological Feat

The technique and engineering used at the time to construct the temple were way ahead of its time. The bricks used in the construction of this archaeological marvel were bonded with vegetable compound rather than mortar.

8. Praised by Celebrities

Ever since the 1967 visit of Jackie Kennedy, the former first lady of the United States, Angkor Wat has been appreciated by many celebrities with Angelina Jolie and David Beckham being the most recent ones to praise the temple.

9. Rise to Fame

While a Portuguese monk was one of the first westerners to be seen at the temple, around 1586, Angkor Wat rose to fame after it was mentioned in the book of the French explorer, Hanri Mouhot, in the mid-18th century.

10. Marvel of Manual Labor

Build with sandstone weighing more than five million tons, Angkor Wat was built in the time when there was no machinery. What’s amusing is that all that sandstone was carried from a quarry that was situated 25 miles away from the main temple site.

11. Pride of Cambodia

Originally the symbol of pride of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat is now the national pride of Cambodia and is even on its national flag. This makes Cambodia the second country to have a building on its flag with Afghanistan being the first.

One important tip for you. With an area of about 400 km² including more than 1,000 temples with large and small size and the distance between the temples are quite far apart, so visitors will spend more time to visit the entire population, because Do not forget to take a sneakers when visiting Angkor.

How many of these facts did you already knew? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more information about Angkor Wat here: 


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