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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Angkor Wat

This majestic Cambodian monument built 1,000 years ago, around the time of the Norman cathedrals, shows a genius of South East Asian history often ignored. The temple it’s self is modelled in perfect symmetry in the style of lotus blossoms. The massive 2 km square capitol building was once the centre of an empire covering its self 2 million square kilometres. And all this at a time when London had 18,000 residents, Angkor had closer to 750,000. In fact until the nineteenth century it was the most extensive city in the world! Unfortunately we know very little about the history and culture of this era. There are few surviving accounts due to the sheer time that has passed, also the extreme twentieth century communist rule in Cambodia means the area is heavily mined and many parts are damaged. Now the site is a tourist attraction providing such income that it alone accounts for twenty percent of Cambodia’s GDP. If this peaks your interest then watch the new BBC series Jungle Atlantis, I promise I haven’t spoiled all of it.
James Winder​

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