Ta Keo (Khmer: ប្រាសាទតាកែវ) was begun during Jayavarman V’s reign (968 – c. 1000 CE) and left unfinished. It stands east of the Royal Palace and just off the Avenue of Victory.
The pyramid-temple rises over 50 m (164'), its five tower shrines arranged in a quincunx, supported on a five-tiered pyramid.
Ta Keo was one of the first temples to be built entirely of sandstone. Previous tower sanctuaries had entrances only on the east side but Ta Keo has openings on all four sides. It was originally surrounded by a moat.
Ta Keo had the first continuous covered galleries at Angkor, and one of the earliest cruciform sanctuaries, breaking with square-sanctuary tradition.
Legend has it that construction of Ta Keo was stopped after lightning struck the monument, interpreted as a bad omen, but more likely it was the death of Jayavarman V circa 1000 CE that halted the works. Its incomplete state tells researchers a lot about how Khmer architects worked, but had it been completed it would have been one of the finest mountain-temples in Angkor.
An inscription tells us that donations were made to the temple in 1007 CE, at a time when two kings, Jayaviravarman and Suryavarman I, were contending for power.