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Archaeology & History

Collapse of Angkor Wat called in to question

By T.K. Randall
June 4, 2019 · Comment icon 8 comments



Angkor Wat remains a popular tourist attraction. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Sam Garza
A growing body of evidence points to a more complex explanation for the abandonment of the historic site.
Originally constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire over 800 years ago, Angkor Wat remains the single largest religious monument in the world.

Constructed under the rule of King Suryavarman II, the structure is so famous that it even appears on Cambodia's flag and it is visited by over two million people from all over the world every year.

The traditional story of Angkor Wat's decline and eventual abandonment points to the collapse of the Angkor civilization in 1431 when its capital city was ransacked by the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya.
In more recent years however, historians have been able to piece together a more detailed account of what happened, revealing Angkor's collapse as more of a transformation than an outright demise.

Factors contributing to its abandonment included a religious shift towards Theravada Buddhism, a change in emphasis away from state-sponsored stone temples to community-based Buddhist pagodas, a series of lengthy droughts and the re-location of the capital further south.

"To describe Angkor's decline as a collapse is a misnomer," writes Prof Alison Kyra Carter from the University of Oregon. "Ongoing archaeological studies are showing that the Angkorian people were reorganizing and adapting to a variety of turbulent, changing conditions."

Source: Newsweek | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by quiXilver 3 years ago
Thank you for sharing. Fascinating place and history.
Comment icon #2 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
Must be an awesome place to visit. Never been there myself. I like how it says "...remains the single largest religious monument in the world."
Comment icon #3 Posted by Unfortunately 3 years ago
I had the pleasure of seeing it a few years ago (along with a few other sites) when I was staying in Cambodia. The architecture and sheer size of Angkor Wat absolutely blew me away, it's indescribably beautiful walking through the grounds; there are lots of little shrines along with more monkeys than I could count at the time I visited. An incredible sight to see, I definitely recommend putting it on the bucket list.    Edit: For future reference, there is one section of the ruin (higher up) that's more sacred, so visitors are encouraged to wear clothes that don't show too much skin. (Easily f... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
Say, do you by chance know of either an official, or, extensive tourist video tour of that site (YouTube perhaps)?  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Unfortunately 3 years ago
Hmm, I can't say I've looked into the video tour side of things, but I'll be sure to let you know if I find one 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Eldorado 3 years ago
Why don't you just search YouTube for a video? https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=anghkor+wat+travel+guide Here's one...  
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
I use YouTube all the time, so I know how to search, but what I was after was something he might recommend since he's been there. But thank you, El, I'll check that video out. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by TripGun 3 years ago
Very cool ruins


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