This magnificent temple of Angkor was once the heart of the mighty Khmer Empire and since more than five centuries, the largest cultural center of Southeast Asia and yet still be considered one of the most spectacular temples in the history of mankind! The twelfth century Angkor Wat temple mausoleum is surrounded by the ruins of the impressive Angkor in Cambodia. This majestic structure is one of the largest medieval stepped pyramids of South Asia. Angkor was the capital of the drive of the Khmer that Cambodia besides also included parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Nowhere in the world has ever spent so much energy to burying a corpse, as in this case that of the Khmer ruler Suryavarman II. The complex consists of a graceful, 65m high stepped pyramid of 1 km², with around five concentric courtyards whose sides are parallel to the directions.
The outer courtyard is surrounded by a wall and a moat. The main entrance on the west side can be reached via a stone-paved road of 200m long. The main building stands in the middle on this court and could be reached via a second path, which ends at an inner wall. This wall has twelve inputs, three for each direction.
In the second courtyard there are again three consecutive patio courtyards. The first is defined by a gallery, consisting of an inner column and two rows. The court has all four sides ports and on the corners of buildings. The gallery wall is decorated with more than 1000 m² of reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata proposals and give a picture of life at the court of the Khmer, the war and the underworld. The main entrance is through one of the galleries envisaged courtyard connected to a second terrace, which is again marked by a gallery with gates and towers.
The main road runs west of the actual entrance to the foot of a steep, central staircase leading to the third terrace. The latter terrace is square in shape and has twelve steps, also here there is for each direction of the three are provided again, and the whole is surrounded by interconnected galleries. When the steps in the corners are four towers with lotus-shaped pinnacles. Other galleries lead again from the main gates to the tower in the middle, which is 42m high and is also crowned by a lotus-shaped pinnacle, which 65m above the ground.
True arches and vaults are missing, but the curved walls of the building are cantilever: stone layers are superimposed so that they overlap. The weight and the force of gravity to keep the bricks together. In a number of towers on the first and second terrace still see the remains of the roof framing. The stone elements are processed by methods out of the woodwork: the pillars of the three galleries with stone beams fixed to the wall, which has been used mortise and tenon joints. In other places for added strength are sometimes dovetails used. By such simple techniques could only be used a limited number of architectural styles. As a cantilever or a stone arch beam no large spaces can span, sprang up small buildings with one floor.
At first glance it seems like Angkor Wat was built of sandstone, but it is not only used for coating or certain design elements. Archaeologists have dug trenches under the buildings to see how the foundation looked. This turned out to consist of layers of sand and sandstone boulders, covered with thick slices laterite. This is a local soil type which hardens on exposure to air and in pieces can be cut. The bulk of the work was probably carried out by unskilled workers. Angkor Wat terraces resting so on very ordinary foundations, so it seems not so much an architectural wonder, but more an illusion of splendor.
The religious activities in Angkor Wat took place under the leadership of a large number of servants who were helped by subordinates. It was a city within a city. It is not known how many people were working at Angkor Wat, an inscription on the Ta Phrom, a smaller temple mausoleum was built between 1181 and 1219, there are a number of 80,000. Perhaps we are on the open spaces in the outer court of Angkor what buildings stood where these people lived. It is only the gods who could have a house of stone.
Angkor Wat is more than just a huge temple mausoleum. It is a microcosm that represents the temple, the land and the universe. Some scientists want to have the image in the main shrine room not only Vishnu portrays, but also Suryavarman II, and the nineteen images of Vishnu ?? s avatar, the forms in which he could appear, representing the nineteen provincial governors of Suryavarman II. However, others think that the building itself a model of the universe: the canal and the outer face of the primordial sea and the cakravala, the mountain range that surrounds the universe. The central tower and the four other towers depict the five peaks of Mount Meru from the heart of the universe, which the city of the gods is built. It is quite possible that the building had to express certain aspects of the Hindu tradition. The bas-reliefs are indeed also the underworld, the creation of the universe, showing the Ramayana and the Mahabaharata.
Angkor Wat clearly pressed the glory and power of Suryavarman II and his personal god out. Unfortunately, the construction of this miracle drew heavily on the wealth of the state and were the consequences for his successors drastic.
The mausoleum temple of Angkor Wat