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  1. 1. Kambodia is a medium sized country in south-east Asia. Its an area is 181,035 Km2 and the population reaches a .little more than 10 millions Until about a decade ago the country suffered a devastating civil war, the murderous regime of the Khmer-Rouge, that was followed by Vietnamese occupation. This poor country, opened to international tourism only in the last few years, offers one of the greatest wonders of the world – a UNESCO “World . legacy site"- the marvelous Khmer temple complex The Khmer dynasty ruled for about 600 years, between the 9th and the 15th centuries. Their kingdom spread over an area of what is now known as Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The Founder of the Dynasty – king Jayavarman and his descendants, built, in and around Angkor Thom, their capital, hundreds of .gigantic temples
  2. 2. As time passed the Khmer regime has decayed, the city and the temples were neglected and the tropical jungle . covered the ruins Angkor Thom was lost, forgotten and hardly known even .to the local population The site came back from oblivion in the 19th century when Henry Mouhot, a French botanist investigated the area and discovered the remains of the temples hidden under the thick jungle vegetation. Excavation and restoration works started at the turn of the 20th century and are still in process. Though only a fraction of the buildings have been restored, the splendor of the temples is breath taking. No less fascinating is the successful struggle of the wild jungle to re-capture the collapsing .building
  3. 3. Here is jast a preliminary realization of the conflict betweein the trees to the buildings
  4. 4. Angkor Thom city remanis
  5. 5. The gates of Angkor Thom - the ancient capital - are guarded by ferociouos stone soldiers. Many of the buildings, including the 8 meter high city walls can still be seen. In its climax, in the 12th century, Angkor Thom was one of the biggest ! cities of the world, with nearly a million inhabitants
  6. 6. The city walls and the various structures are covered with beautiful reliefs
  7. 7. Battles and victories descriptions on the angkor walls
  8. 8. We start our tour, just to get the idea of a Khmer temple, (.with– “Prasat Kravan” (The flowers temple
  9. 9. A view inside the towers and beautiful reliefs in front
  10. 10. The eternal struggle between man made structure and the jungle. Many temples have been cleaned and restored, but some were left nearly un-touched, clearing only a narrow lane for visitors (e.g. “Beng Melea” the “Jungle temple”(. Some others were partially cleaned and remnants of the rain forest can be seen entangled within the walls. We are now on the way towards two such temples (Ta Prohm and Koker( situated about 140 km from the province capital Siem Reap. Most of the famous temples are in the vicinity of this town and it serves as a home .base of all the excursions in the area
  11. 11. Beng Melea” temple - The entrance clearly shows the“ .struggle between the nature and man made structures
  12. 12. Trees grow on the wall and simply crack it apart Roots ensnare the buildings in a tight envelope
  13. 13. Only in the underground corridors, or few other corners we can see the naked walls and thair decorations
  14. 14. Some more evidence to the “jungle force”- “Ta-Prohm” temple
  15. 15. Koker – The “five towers Temple” – Each tower and his private tree
  16. 16. The tree envelopes the tower from outside while the roots penetrate into the hollow cavities and rooms within
  17. 17. Finally – an example of a cleaned and beautifully restored . temple Pre Rup “ (the “ staircase temple) Built by King Vorman the 2nd .for his father’s funeral
  18. 18. Pre Rup“ – View from the top floor“
  19. 19. We are on our way to the “Koker Pyramid temple”. The colonade along the road has partially collapsed, but the pyramid itself is still 90 meters high and proves a real challenges to climbers
  20. 20. view from ”The “Koker Pyramid temple
  21. 21. Banteay Kdei” temple. Here we’ll direct our attention less towards the building “ itself and more towards the multitude of ornaments: sculptures and reliefs . depicting plants, lions and human figures , ex: dancers, guards etc
  22. 22. Ta Som” temple – a magnificent entrance adorned with huge carved portraits“
  23. 23. .Once you go through - plenty of reliefs, sculptures and various decorations
  24. 24. And one more hidden temple,“Banteay Kdei”,but inside is a wonderful art display
  25. 25. Here we are in ”Bayon” complex with its 54 towers, each tower and wall is differently ornated.One is stunned by the beauty and the eyes cannot absorb it all
  26. 26. Thousands of reliefs on the walls around
  27. 27. Finally, the greatest of them all – “Angkor Vat”. Considered the biggest temple in the world, this complex is spread over 30 hectares and is surrounded by walls ( .and water filled moats ( remains thereof are seen below
  28. 28. A multitude of courtyard and colonnades. The central tower is a challenge .to climb up and even a greater challenge to climb back down
  29. 29. And for “dessert” - local beauties who managed to keep their elegance for more .than thousand years
  30. 30. Our visit to the Cambodian temples is over and it is time to return to our modern noisy, concrete covered civilization . The sights and experiences will be kept in our memory for .a long time