I’ll bet that the Angkor Wat appears on as many bucket lists as the Eiffel Tower. It is more mysterious, and more precarious, too, since the surrounding jungle seems to be encroaching from every side. Moreover, the temple is disintegrating, so there’s an increasingly strong hint that you’d better see it now before pollution, jungle, over-exposure to tourists combine to destroy it altogether.
There are remarkable elements still. The 2200 bas relief statues of Apsaras, the bare-breasted dancing girls, adorn every available space. The frieze showing the tug of war known as the Churning of the Sea of Milk extends for some two-thirds of a mile around the perimeter of the main building. The social symmetry of the main facade’s gates allows the central gate for the king, the two adjoining gates for Mandarins and generals, and two outer gates for commoners.
The complex was begun as a Hindu shrine to Vishnu in the first half of the 12th century. Later it became a Buddhist temple (and remains so today).
Shall we just turn to pictures?