The Ministry of Tourism has the great honor to inform the public and tourists that after millions of viewers all over the world electing an ancient temple as the magnificent historic building site by the website of TripAdvisor Co. Inc., Cambodia’s Angkor Temple is ranked first of the world’s magnificent historic building sites for 2017.

This is the fourth year that the Angkor Temple has been elected by viewers all over the world, and it has been ranked first consecutively by the different famous websites. In 2014, the Angkor Temple was ranked first of the world’s most famous archeological and historical sites by the website of ArchaeoMadness Co. In the early year of 2015, the Angkor Temple was ranked first of the world’s most famous historic sites by the website of TripAdvisor Co. In 2016, the Angkor Temple was ranked first of the world’s most popular cultural tourist sites by the website of Lonely Planet Co.

Let me inform you that in May 2016, Mr. Anton Caragea the President of the European Council on Tourism and Trade and Mr. Mircea Constantinescu the Chairman of the European Tourism Academy declared Cambodia the World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2016 and the Favorite Cultural Tourist Destination for 2016 as the Kingdom of Cambodia has been deemed to be `Kingdom of Wonder’ based on five elements:

  • Marvels of culture, especially Angkor Temple – the masterpiece of Khmer people and all humanity, and marvels of nature;
  • The large Tonle Sap Lake in Asia with the returning flow of water, unparalleled In the world;
  • The feature of Cambodian Buddhism, not only teaching humans to become disciples but also advising them to do good deeds;
  • The charming smile of Cambodian people; if you want to see the true smile of humans, please come to Cambodia; and
  • The wise and brilliant leadership of Samdech Techo HUN SEN the Prime Minister who has combined tourism with culture to develop the country.

Moreover, the European Tourism Academy has unanimously elected Samdech Techo the Prime Minister as the Honorary Member of the European Tourism Academy by virtue of his great heroism in the development of the whole country from zero until prosperity recognized in the national and international arenas. The European Tourism Academy has also named Samdech Techo the Prime Minister as the ‘Man of Action, Man of Dialogue and Man of Reflection’.

This outcome is very suitable for Cambodia, and the consecutive acceptance of first-class awards truly reflects success of the Royal Government of Cambodia under the haven of peace and the wise leadership of Samdech Akira Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who is the constructor of the win-win policy and the open-sky policy to develop our beloved country.

On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, we appeal to the public and tourists to maintain peace and protect our ancestral heritage in order to develop green tourism and the green economy on the golden land of Cambodia — Kingdom of Wonder — Feel the Warmth.

Source: Press Release of Ministry of Tourism of Kingdom of Cambodia on June 29th, 2017

Press Release - Cambodia's Angkor Temple-the World's Magnificent Historic Building Site for 2017Press Release - Cambodia's Angkor Temple-the World's Magnificent Historic Building Site for 2017

CAMBODIA Is An Exhilarating Experience in Southeast Asia.

You’ll find some of the world’s most awe-inspiring and mysterious ruins in Angkor Wat and fascinating history, undoubtedly Cambodia’s main tourist draw. Still, this nation has so much more to offer from exploring ancient cities to shopping or eating in outdoor markets.

The Temples of Cambodia

Angkor is a region in Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, the largest empire of Southeast Asia that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries. This ancient and revered Cambodian province is home to astonishing and enduring architectural evidence of the Khmer Empire’s Hindu and Mahayana Buddhist beliefs; the temples of Angkor are awe-inspiring reminders of what was the largest preindustrial urban center in the world, larger than modern day New York.

Angkor Wat

While there are over 100 stone temples scattered throughout the Angkor region, the 5 listed here are the definite must-sees. Unquestionably topping this list is the temple at Angkor Wat, built by Suryavaram II to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. The enormous temple consists of 5 concentric rectangular walls and moats, symbolizing a cosmic chain of mountains and ocean. Angkor Wat is the best-preserved temple in Angkor; it appears on the country’s national flag and is the prime attraction for tourists.

The construction of Angkor Wat lasted at least 37 years. The main tower of the central temple represents the mountain Meru, the center of the Hindu and Buddhist universe. When touring Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples and religious monuments, it’s also possible to visit nearby Siem Reap, a small colonial town just north of Southeast Asia’s largest lake, Tonle Sap. If you’d like to stay a day or 2 to bask in the Angkor’s spiritual sanctity, Siem Reap has many hotels offering reasonable prices.

Ta Prohm

The Khmer monarch completed the construction of this royal monastery in the 12th century and dedicated the grounds both to his mother and the goddess of wisdom, Prajnaparamita. The central stone pillar, called a foundational stele, chronicles the dedication and urges successors to protect the revered site. The location of the temple, set amidst the lush Cambodian jungle, makes it extremely popular for tourists.

Ta Prohm was home to more than 12,500 people, and the temple served as a place of worship for thousands of souls in surrounding villages. Now this peaceful town stands as a reminder of Cambodia’s early spirituality and religious beliefs.

Bayon

Another of Angkor’s sacred temple sites is Bayon is a walled capital city known especially for its jungle of face towers. These towers bear massive stone carvings depicting the face of the king and a message of spiritual worship. This is a place where the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism exist in a unique spiritual balance, most visibly evident in the massive stone faces carved into Bayon’s many towers.

To explore these sacred Cambodian sites, it’s possible to book a temple tour. History and spirituality combine in this ancient land where mythology and religion share the same stone face, and cultural customs wait to be discovered at every turn.

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei, or the Temple of Women, has been called a jewel of Khmer art. Its great reliefs depict many mythological Hindu events including the duel between the monkey princes, Bali and Sugreeva; Narasimha’s slaying of the demon Hiranyakasipu; and the burning of Khandava Forest. Banteay Srei is unique among Angkor’s noble temples because it was built by a wealthy courtier and scholar who served as an advisor to the Cambodian king, and not the monarch himself.

Banteay Srei was dedicated to the Hindu god, Siva in 967; the temple is therefore considerably older than the other Angkor sites. The grounds, buildings and layout at Banteay Srei are small, contrasting with the monumental scale of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. While the buildings may be compact, they don’t feel crowded, and the structural layout enhances the narrative relief carvings covering Banteay Srei’s red sandstone walls and passageways.

Preah Khan

Preah Khan is another of King Jayavarman’s creations and an inscription on the temple suggests he built it on the site where he defeated invaders from Champa, a region that is now Southern Vietnam. The successive rectangular galleries surrounding the Buddhist sanctuary have largely been left untouched.

This large complex not only functioned as a monastic house of worship, it was also a university including elements of Buddhist, Vaishnava and Shaiva worship. When visiting this hallowed ground, make sure to explore the Prasat Preah Stung, a central tower with 4 ornate Bayon-like carvings. Once inside, meander through the galleries and 2 libraries. This is another Angkor site you can explore while staying in Siem Reap. The Preah Khan hotel takes its name from the site and offers guests modern luxuries near this enduring cultural landmark.

 

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From the views from the Golden Gate Bridge to the most famous archeological site in South America, these are the 10 landmarks TripAdvisor users voted the best in the world.

There are some sights that are best seen in person. TripAdvisor polled its users on their favorite landmarks in the 2015 Travelers’ Choice awards. From the infamous Alcatraz Island to the structural wonder that is Machu Piccu, there’s a site to see in every part of the world. Dig into the first ten—you can see the whole list here—and start planning your adventure.

No. 1: Angkor Wat

no-1-angkor-watBuilt in the 12th century, this Cambodian religious monument started out as a Hindu temple and was eventually converted to a Buddhist temple. The site—which also appears on the Cambodian national flag—is surrounded by a 650-foot moat. Fun fact: the temple’s bricks are bonded by a vegetable compound instead of the more commonly used mortar.

No. 2: Machu Picchu

no-2-machu-picchuMuch of Machu Piccu is still undiscovered (including how it was constructed), yet it still clocks in as the more famous archeological site in South America. Built around 14000, the landmark was built along two of the Earth’s fault lines and has remained relatively intact for hundreds of years.

No. 3: Taj Mahal

no-3-taj-mahalThe Taj Mahal took nearly 22 years to build, features more than 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones, and has since been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. If the same structure were to be built today it would amount to more than one billion dollars.

No. 4: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

no-4-sheikh-zayed-grand-mosqueLocated in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque Center was built between 1996 and 2007. The entire structure houses 82 marble domes, 1,000 columns, the world’s largest chandelier, and the largest hand-knotted carpet.

No. 5: La Sagrada Familia

no-5-la-sagrada-familiaGaudi’s masterpiece is one of the most well-known attractions in Barcelona, with its incredibly intricate exterior and impressive stained-glass windows. However, the construction for La Sagrada Familia is ongoing—in fact, it’s not expected to be completed until 2026 (building began in 1882). Make sure to make the trip to the very top for exceptional views of the city.

No. 6: St. Peter’s Basilica

no-6-st-peters-basilicaAs if artwork by Michelangelo weren’t enough of a temptation, the view from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica is well worth the staircase climb to the top. Measuring in at more than 240,000 square feet, it also claims the title of the world’s largest church.

No. 7: Milan Cathedral

no-7-milan-cathedralOne of the most recognized pieces of architecture in Italy, Milan’s Northern Gothic cathedral boasts rooftop views of the Italian Alps on a clear day.

No. 8: Alcatraz Island

no-8-alcatraz-islandThe roster of this former prison is impressive, including names like Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone. Aside from housing criminals, the island is also home to the West Coast’s first lighthouse, which began its operations in 1854.

No. 9: Cristo Redentor

no-9-cristo-redentorClearly a tourist favorite, Christ the Redeemer was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. The statue lives on the Corcovado Mountain—2,300 feet above Rio de Janeiro—and is quite a sight to see at night when it’s lit up. And while the statue has been struck by lightening several times, it remains intact, with minimal damage to the fingers, head, and eyebrows.

No. 10: Golden Gate Bridge

no-10-golden-gate-bridgeWhile the best view of the bridge may be hotly debated (some say it’s below at Fort Point, and others at Vista Point in Marin), there’s no denying the bridge as a world icon. Fun fact: Golden Gate Bridge was painted orange to blend in with the local setting.

 


Source: Travel&Leisure & TripAdvisor

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Discover what makes Cambodia a special civilization and why you must have it on your top travel list.

Cambodia is continuously gaining recognition with its tourism industry, offering numerous attractions for tourist including the globally renowned temple complex, the Angkor Wat. Despite the fact that Cambodia is not an undiscovered country, you may still find many undiscovered components to this country. Travel to Cambodia to encounter a piece of intoxicating history, meet the extremely favorable Khmer people and take-in the nation’s stunning pure beauty. The ever present Khmer smile is celebrated, as is Cambodia hospitality. Let yourself lots of time to research and you will be excited to see everything that Cambodia has to provide. Through Cambodia Travel dip yourself in the country’s distinctive culture and lifestyle. Map of Cambodia

Cambodia is a nation of sunshine and tone, rising from its bloody history with undoubted strength and dazzling energy. Cambodia Journey comprises Grand temples and byzantine monuments showcase the formidable monuments of the mighty Khmer empire while stylish bars, contemporary buildings and the brightness of its individuals bring us into the present. The ancient ruins of Angkor rank among the world’s most spectacular archaeological sites. The capital city Phnom Penh oozes history, as well as offers up some exceptional dining and a complete on nightlife. As yet unspoiled islands scatter the Cambodian shore and quaint small provincial towns sit among strikingly beautiful countryside.

Daily Excursion in Phnom PenhCambodia is a comparatively little country encompassed by Vietnam to the north east, Thailand to the North West along with Laos to the north. It is a relatively new and evolving tourist spot to go for the Western world, but the nation now has opened its doors wide to show off its excellent treasures. Through Cambodia Travel, the most popular view is Angkor Wat, situated just outside the tourist town of Siem Reap. Cambodia is a very inexpensive travel location, even by Southeast Asian requirements. It isn’t hard to find comfortable hotel at a reasonable cost. Food is also quite inexpensive and in the major tourist cities there are numerous restaurants keen to please the visiting crowds.

Angkor Wat tempele-ACL


ACL Travel is a local tour company which offers seamlessly travel arrangements for groups and individual tailor made vacation packages. Contact now at info@acltravel.com to get the right information, travel idea and design your dream holiday.


Siem Reap Angkor

Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap of CambodiaSiem Reap’s hottest attractions consist mainly of ancient ruins in the Angkor area, a World Heritage listed site. There are more than 1, 000 important temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park from the ninth to 15th hundreds of years, set among woods and farmland. The most famous of those is Angkor Wat, a twelfth century temple considered the world’s biggest religious construction. You’d be amiss not also seeing the huge Angkor Thom, home to numerous Hindu monuments and gates, staggering in their size. When investigating the Angkor Archaeological Park, don’t pass up on seeing Phnom Bakheng, among the oldest temples in Angkor.

Constructed in the late-ninth to early-10th century, Phnom Bakheng sits atop a stone development with carvings of Hindu deities. Another distinguishing sight at Angkor that has to be experienced is the Terrace of the Leper King. This 7 metre stage with a nude sexless statue is regarded as one of the region’s great enigmas. Back within the city of Siem Reap, another popular draw is the Cambodian Cultural Village. A mix of theme park and cultural website, CCV shows the conventions of 11 hamlets including activities, a wax museum and miniature buildings. If you would like a distinctive experience, a cruise throughout the Floating Village on Tonle Sap Lake must be on your Siem Reap itinerary.

Known as the Venice of the East this village is totally built over the water with homes, markets, fisheries, schools, hospitals, basket ball courts and much more sitting on top of stilts. For buying traditional Cambodian items, you have got to visit the Old Market, which sells quality artisan goods like instruments and clothing amidst a local atmosphere. After the sun sets, you will find a lot of places to drink and communicate with locals along Pub Street. For a more laid back night excursion you must visit the night market area for a wide range of handicrafts and street food vendors. Painting at Artisan D'Angkor

Siem Reap has progressed into a tourist town, catering to the considerable amounts of visitors it receives every year by providing a surplus of hotels, resorts, hostels and guesthouses. You are best basing yourself within the city that has lots of restaurants, shops, bars and places to keep you occupied on days when you are not visiting Angkor or outer city draws. Siem Reap isn’t a big city, so you will always be close to transportation and tour operators no matter where you are staying. It is additionally possible to walk to the majority of Siem Reap’s draws within the city area.

Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap Lake in Siem ReapTonle Sap Lake situated South of Siem Reap City is just the biggest lake in Cambodia and plays an essential part in the environmental balance of the country. At the dry season it is a low lake which drains throughout the Tonle Sap River into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, this changes in the June – Nov monsoon season when the high water degree of the Mekong River causes a reverse flow up the Tonle Sap River into the lake region. The influx increases the size of the lake from its low of 2500 sq kilometre to over 10, 000 sq kilometres.

This makes the lake the biggest freshwater lake in the South East Asia throughout the wet season. The awash mangrove woods plains are home to over 100 types of water birds including a number of endangered or endangered species. There are over 200 types of fish in its waters as well as crocodiles in maroques otters and turtles. The lake is populated with floating hamlets inhabited by both Cambodian and Vietnamese communities. The person hamlets are an incredible view with their floating homes, marketplaces, schools and churches. The villagers earn an income from fishing with their large fish traps catching enough to provide Cambodia with 50{5c751442e5d0d6acc168756d9dce2d619bfe823b65c2fd7441c3af909dfa0cf7} of its fish consumption.

Floating Village on Tonle Sap LakeOne of more prominent floating hamlets is Chong Khneas. It is 12 kilometers south of Siem Reap and is a departure\/arrival point for the Phnom Penh ferry service and also Tone Sap lake tourist trips. While this floating village is just a well known landmark, while less tourist orientated hamlets of Kampong Pluk and Kampong Khleang gave more of an insight into lake life. Both these hamlets are south of Chong Khneas on the eastern side of the lake. Kampong Khleang is in fact the largest floating community on Tonle Sap.

This Vietnamese negotiation also offers a thriving pottery business as there were piles of clay pots in front of majority of the houses. To the west of Chong Khneas at the north end of the lake is just the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary. This reserve is and it has been called the most crucial breeding ground in South East Asia for big water birds. Species like the Black headed ibis, spot billed Pelican, Grey headed Fish Eagle, Painted Stock and Millet Stork nest in the region. The refuge is most widely used with bird watchers in the dry season months when flocks of migratory birds visit the region.


ACL Travel is a local tour company which offers seamlessly travel arrangements for groups and individual tailor made vacation packages. Contact now at info@acltravel.com to get the right information, travel idea and design your dream holiday.

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Cambodia’s Three Distinguished Towns Attempt for UNESCO List

Three rising visitor destinations in Cambodia could make it to the UNESCO World Heritage list in five years time. Data on the World Heritage applications revealed at the end of the Mekong Tourism Forum, held 5 to 7 July in Sihanoukville.

An itemized arrangement delineating the strides required for Battambang, Kratie and Kampot to accomplish World Heritage status, under the substantial society classification ought to be affirmed by the Prime Minister’s office as right on time as this September.

UNESCO partner master urban legacy, Serge Reny, affirmed the underlying arranging procedure was currently in progress, however focused on the result would be dictated by what the groups themselves suggested in each of the three towns.

A definite exchange with nearby groups is the initial step to pick up backing and criticism in a convoluted and extensive procedure to record three applications with UNESCO. The procedure would take no less than five years before the towns were put on a short rundown for definite thought. Reclamation work in the three towns would need to be finished as a component of the application procedure inside the five years.

“Without their criticism and duty, there is the danger of the towns transforming into galleries with no pertinence to today’s social surroundings. That is not the target we need the towns to mirror a living society,” Reny clarified.

Battambang

Buddhist Temple in Battambang

Battambang lies west of Siem Reap on the national road 5 from Phnom Penh to Poipet, the bordertown confronting Aranyapathet in Thailand. It is best known for its Buddhist sanctuaries and verifiable and social connections to Thailand. Battambang is Cambodia’s second most crowded town and a mainstream vacationer destination due its 40 antiquated sanctuaries and previous royal residences, Buddhist altars and a bamboo train. It is additionally the capital of Battambang region.

Kampot

Activity in Kampot

Kampot which was a common seat of the pilgrim French organization, lies a one-hour drive east from the waterfront town of Sihanoukville. Kampot is a peaceful riverside town, only a couple km up waterway from the Gulf of Thailand. It is known for its well-known dark pepper, which is broadly accessible in Cambodia and a fare thing. The town’s engineering is a blend of pilgrim going back to the French and cutting edge Cambodian now and again known as  known as Sihanouk or independence architecture.

Kratie

Mekong Dolphin in Kratie

Kratie, situated on the banks of the Mekong River, upper east of Phnom Penh, is home to around 20 Irrawardy dolphins who live on a 190 km stretch of the stream south of the outskirt with Laos. Situated in the upper east, on expressway 7, Kratie is a residential community on the banks of Mekong River. A stretch of stream north of town is home to uncommon Irrawaddy dolphins. The dolphins are the town’s principle vacation destination, which is likewise the begin of the Mekong Discovery Trail.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism worldwide participation chief, Thok Sokhom, prior in the year, was cited saying, the service had distinguished the three towns as potential destinations for World Heritage status with UNESCO.

The nation as of now has two World Heritage destinations; Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear. Every UNESCO World Heritage site must demonstrate that it speaks to a perfect work of art of human inventive virtuoso, display vital great expressions, or normal scenes, bear a one of a kind affirmation to a social custom, or be an exceptional case of engineering, as indicated by the determination criteria.

It will take no less than five years for government authorities to group enough proof to meet UNESCO’s determination for each of the three urban areas. Reny said the five-year process with studies and rebuilding work at the three towns would cost an expected USD50 million. It would include financing and ability from the World Bank, USAID and Germany GIZ.

“The main test is to pick up a comprehension of the groups and their personality, while perceiving the impact of the diverse periods, for example, 1953 to 1970 the freedom time and how it affected on craftsmanship and engineering,” the UNESCO master emphasized.

Cambodia World Heritages List

 

Source: ttrweekly

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Angkor Empire dominated Southeast Asia for nearly 600 years …

1,000 years ago, one of the world’s greatest civilizations built an empire here in Cambodia. It dominated Southeast Asia for nearly 600 years … and was the biggest superpower the region has ever seen. Their capital was the greatest city of Angkor.

Facade_of_Angkor_Wat “This was an extensive kingdom. Its power surpassed the modern-day borders, an empire this great is something to be truly marveled at and to have so much remaining from that time. It’s just a remarkable thing to witness.” Said Dr. Wayne Johnson, The University of Sydney.

Starting as a nation of rice farmers, the Khmer people would go on to build some of the most spectacular structures of the Medieval age. The pinnacle of their culture was the great temple Angkor Wat, still the largest religious monument in the world. But 500 years ago, the Khmer Kings abandoned their capital. The city of Angkor was quickly devoured by the jungle.

Deep inside the stone chambers of Angkor Wat, the annual candle ceremony – Meak Bochea. A Buddhist ceremony to purify the mind.

“Many people think of Angkor Wat as a dead monument, a place that wat abandoned and the tourists come here just to admire its architecture. But, you know, it’s a living monument. It’s a place which has real life in amongst the people of Cambodia. It’s an amazing place, a special place. Angkor Wat is a place full of surprises.” Dr. Wayne Johnson commented.

Angkor Wat is one of the most beautiful and mysterious buildings in the world. Five huge towers shaped like lotus buds, surrounded by a six-kilometer moat. A temple of perfect symmetry covering an area of two square kilometers. This is one of the wonders of the Medieval world.

“What I feel when I see Angkor Wat is, I am impressed by the coming together, the collectivity of a great many kinds of genius here. The genius of the mathematician, the genius of the artist, the genius of the architect, the genius of the engineer and the genius of the people who aspired to build these things. Who cannot be in love with Angkor?” said Prof. Richard A. Engelhardt, The University of Hong Kong.

Dancers_angkor_wat

The temple was constructed nearly 1,000 years ago. In Europe at that time, the Normans would spend over 100 years buildings their vast cathedrals. The Khmer people completed Angkor Wat in under 40, and that included 2 km of intricate engravings with nearly 2,000 celestial dancers from Hindu mythology, every one unique. In the 12th century, this was the spiritual and administrative heart of the city of Angkor. It would come to rule an empire that stretched an million square kilometers across Southeast Asia.

Every year, more than two million people are drawn to the Khmer’s archaeological treasures. They drive a tourist industry worth more than 2 billion US dollars a year, nearly 20{5c751442e5d0d6acc168756d9dce2d619bfe823b65c2fd7441c3af909dfa0cf7} of Cambodia’s entire economy. But the people who built this temple and the city around it remain an enigma. Most evidence for how the Khmer people built their city has been lost or swallowed by the jungle.

Angkor’s Revolutionized Discovery With New Technology Called LIDAR

For over 100 years, scientists have been unable to explain why one of the world’s most powerful civilizations abandoned their city. Now an international team of experts is trying to solve one of the great mysteries of the Medieval age.

“As archaeologists, we are interested in questions of, who the people were who built these temples, where do they come from? How did they survive? What did their cities look like and what happened to them?” Dr. Wayne Johnson added.

Lost city of Angkor by LIDAR

Using a revolutionary laser-scanning technique called LIDAR, they are looking beneath the jungle to uncover the secrets of this extraordinary civilization. For the first time in 500 years, LIDAR is helping to reveal the lost metropolis of the people who built Angkor Wat. We are now closer than ever before to an understanding of how the Khmer people came to dominate Southeast Asia and why their great city ultimately collapsed.

“Archaeologists and historians have been studying Angkor for about 150 – 160 years, but little was known about the actual people who inhabited these spaces. The great stone buildings were one thing, but not everyone lived in the temples, and so more throughout the 20th century the questions were being asked, what about the everyday people? Who were they? Where did they live? What was their life like?” Dr. Wayne Johnson added.

Now a new project is attempting to solve some of these mysteries by using a revolutionary technology called LIDAR. Dr. Damian Evans from the University of Sydney, is leading a team of international experts who are peeling back the layers of forest to reveal the secrets of the people who built Angkor Wat.

Angkor-Wat viewed by LIDAR

“Most of the city that existed here 1000 years ago would have been made of every, very flimsy material. Just light pieces of wood and thatch and so on. Within one or two years, that stuff just rots away completely. We can still make out these very, very subtle traces of where they used to be, by analyzing the surface topography of the landscape.” Dr. Damian Explained.

LIDAR works in a similar way to radar. It scans the ground by sending out a million laser points every four seconds and analyzing the information reflected back. The time it takes for each pulse to break through the trees, hit the ground and return is measured. The results are then mapped. The shapes revealed are the footprints of structures from the long-lost capital of the Angkorian Empire.angkor wat, much bigger than thought, siem reap, super city, Buddhist Hindu, jungle cambodia BBC TWO, Damian EvansLIDAR confirms that the city spanned an area larger than the whole of New York City. In the 12th century, when Angkor Wat was being built, London had a population of 18,000. It’s been estimated that Angkor had a population approaching three-quarters of a million. Until the 19th century, Angkor was the most extensive city in the world.

Bringing the old capital back to life was only one of the project’s ambitions. LIDAR has also started giving revolutionary insights into the origins of the Khmer Empire.

Historian Believe That The Angkor Empire Began Herein The Kulen Hills

Since 1999, French archaeologist Jean-Baptiste Chevance have been studying the Kulen Hills, 40km north of Angkor. He has dedicated his life to uncovering the remains of a 9th-century Khmer settlement. It’s a tough, simple existence.

“I have been driving around for years, so I know the place pretty well. I feel comfortable with the local people, with the research, with the temples. It’s part of my life. The dirt bike is fun, it’s the easiest way to go from A to B, especially in rainy season. Roads are turning into rivers, so you have to be cautious.” Said Dr Jean-Baptiste Chevance.

Historian believe that the Khmer Empire began herein the Kulen Hills, 300 years before Angkor Wat as built. Before the LIDAR project, Jean-Baptiste used conventional archaeology to piece together a picture of an early Khmer capital. Rong Chen sits on one of the highest peaks in the Kulen Hills. At the time it was being built, Anglo-Saxon Britain was being attacked by the Vikings.

Inscriptions in temples built 200 years later suggest that Rong Chen was the religious heart of a new capital called Mahendrapravata. And it was built for a powerful Khmer king, Jayavarman II.  Before his rules, Cambodia was a collection of small kingdoms ruled by local lords. 11th-century inscriptions suggest that Jayavarman came to dominate the area by declaring himself to be a special mediator between God and man.

With only a few ruins and inscriptions to go on, understanding the early days of the Khmer Empire has always been difficult, and for many years, archaeological digs here were also impossible.

From 1975 to 1979, the Communist Party of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge, established a totalitarian state based on the teachings of Mao Tse Tung. Under the leadership of dictator Pol Pot, they rules by terror, rejecting urban culture and trying to build a self-sufficient agricultural society. By the end of Pol Pot’s rule, more than a million-and-a-half Cambodians had been killed. Many more were left with permanent injuries.

The Kulen Hills was one of the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. Today, the Kulen Hills remain minded in deep forest. So this part of the Khmer Empire is one of the least explored.

Jean-Baptiste’s work and his participation in the LIDAR project is changing that. Laser information reflected from the surface of the Kulen Hills revealed the shadow of Jayavarman’s city for the first time in more than 1,000 years.

The LIDAR results showed that Mahendrapravata was a much more sophisticated city than anyone had expected. It also covered a much greater area. The LIDAR survey provides precise information about where to look for the remains of further hidden structures. In an area cleared of mines, Jean-Baptiste is following up LIDAR data that suggests the presence of an unexpected structure.

Termites don’t build their mounds in straight lines in nature, yet here there are six of them. The LIDAR map suggests that the termites built their nests on the remains of an earth bank built in the 9th century at the edge of a medieval Khmer road. The termites are unwitting markers of a vast boulevard 80m wide, 6km long.

The LIDAR images of Mahendrapravata reveal that Jayavarman II began the construction of a remarkable city. The Khmer people managed to clear tens of kilometers of jungle to begin the construction of their new capital. The LIDAR survey reveals a huge centrally planned metropolis – canals, reservoirs, dams, and a network of giant boulevards covering an area of at least 30 square kilometers.

LIDAR allows us to re-imagine this early Khmer city. A huge reservoir of eight square kilometers to sustain a rapidly growing population. Constructions like the dam show that the city was ruled by a leader who could plan and deliver huge engineering projects.

A powerful political system was also needed to help overcome one of the Khmer people’s major challenges. A meter-and-a-half of rain falls in the monsoon between May and November, nearly 90{5c751442e5d0d6acc168756d9dce2d619bfe823b65c2fd7441c3af909dfa0cf7} of the annual total, and then, after six months of deluge, the long dry season begins. Temperatures hover around 40 Celsius and for six months nothing grows. If the crops fail during the wet season … famine follows.

Lost temple on Kulen HillsThe Khmer were obsessed with water and this river in the Kulen Hills, they sought to sanctify it by creating an elaborate underwater shrine. These carvings in the rock of the river bed were made in the 11th century, 200 years after Jayavarman founded his capital. The shapes represent Hindu symbols of male and female fertility. These intricate designs were carved to preserve life.

Rainwater from the Kulen Hills flows over these carvings down to the Cambodian plains. The sanctified water sustained the staple of life for an entire people. 90 years after Jayavarman made Mahendrapravvata a capital of his kingdom, the administration moved here to Angkor.

Landscape archaeologist Scott Hawken has been studying how rice farming shaped the new capital. “Mostly for the history of research on Angkor, people have been studying temples, and the magnificent structures that everybody talks about and notices, but you can’t understand the city until you go to the rice fields. It’s really interesting to start off with the smallest elements of the archaeological landscape, the humble rice fields, and then to build up a picture of this mighty, mighty city that was over 1,000 square kilometers in size.” said Dr Scott Hawken, The University of New South Wales.

Scott’s work shows that the solutions found by Angkorian engineers are still used today. The rice harvest here has always depended on a secure water supply. A successful harvest still depends on careful management of the monsoon waters.

At first, the people of Angkor tried to reduce the chance of failure by building their city close to an enormous natural body of water. Every year, these fields are nourished by the rising waters of the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Tonle Spa… the “Great Lake”.

Watch Full Video Filmed by BBC Travel Here:

Source: BBC Travel

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