Lost Cities of the Angkor Empire - Preah Vihear
Away from the normal tourist temple areas of Angkor you can find some unique and incredibly interesting remote temples in Cambodia. One such temple, and one which is one of the more remote locations, is Prasat Preah Vihear which predates Angkor Wat by 100 years. Preah Vihear Temple is a Hindu temple built during the reign of Khmer Empire, that is situated on top of a 525-metre cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province of Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague awarded the temple to Cambodia. Because of these past disputes there is still a heavy military presence at the temple site with bunkers, dugouts and many soldiers on the hilltop.
Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire with a view for many miles over the plains of North Cambodia. As a key edifice of the empire’s spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand’s Sisaket province and through which the temple is most easily accessible. On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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