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Angkor Thom Temple Complex

1 min read

Date: Late 12th century and later (it includes some earlier monuments, such as the Baphuon Temple and Phimeanakas Temple)
Style: Bayon (excluding some earlier monuments inside)
King: Jayavarman VII (reign 1181 – 1220 CE) and successors
Cult: Buddhist (with some earlier Hindu monuments inside)


Angkor Thom (Khmer: អង្គរធំ, ‘Great City’) is one of the largest of all Angkor cities.  It was founded in the late 12th century CE by Jayavarman VII and remained the capital of the kingdom until the first half of the 15th century CE.

Jayavarman VII was crowned in 1181 after defeating the Chams, and decided to fortify his capital city to protect it against further attacks.  The result was Angkor Thom, a walled city with a square layout, covering an area of nine square kilometres (3.5 square miles), surrounded by wide moats and a high laterite wall with five imposing gates.

Although the city walls enclose a number of large and important temples, it can be argued that Angkor Thom was designed as one giant temple, with the Bayon Temple as its central sanctuary.

Angkor Thom overlaps the previous Angkor capital of Yashodharapura (end of 9th century CE), and incorporates temples of previous centuries, notably Baphuon Temple and Phimeanakas Temple.

It remained the capital of Jayavarman VII’s successors, and there are many additions and some remodelling.

The modern name 'Angkor Thom', dating from the 16th century CE at least, means ‘Great City’.


Map of Angkor Thom

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