Photographer's Note

The 10(???) tower at Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat (or Angkor Vat) is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centrefirst Hindu, then Buddhistsince its foundation. The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temples. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the gods in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 km (2.2 miles) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. As well as for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, the temple is admired for its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.

According to Guinness World Records, it is the largest religious structure in the world.

Since the 1990s Angkor Wat has seen a resumption of conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism. The temple is part of the Angkor World Heritage Site, established in 1992, which has provided some funding and has encouraged the Cambodian government to protect the site.[39] The German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) is working to protect the devatas and other bas-reliefs which decorate the temple from damage. The organisation's survey found that around 20% of the devatas were in very poor condition, mainly because of natural erosion and deterioration of the stone but in part also due to earlier restoration efforts.[40] Other work involves the repair of collapsed sections of the structure, and prevention of further collapse: the west facade of the upper level, for example, has been buttressed by scaffolding since 2002,[41] while a Japanese team completed restoration of the north library of the outer enclosure in 2005.[42]

Angkor Wat has become a major tourist destination: attendance figures for the temple are not published, but in 2004 the country received just over a million international arrivals,[43] of whom according to the Ministry of Tourism 57% planned to visit the temple.[44] The influx of tourists has so far caused relatively little damage, other than some graffiti; ropes and wooden steps have been introduced to protect the bas-reliefs and floors, respectively. Tourism has also provided some additional funds for maintenanceapproximately 28% of ticket revenues across the whole Angkor site is spent on the templesalthough most work is carried out by foreign government-sponsored teams rather than by the Cambodian authorities.[45]

Angkor Wat is also a playable location in the game Tekken for Playstation. It is where the player encounters the last foe, Heihachi Mishima. (from wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Filippo Gherardi (pippo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 0 N: 64] (596)
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