Thursday, 20 June 2013

Angkor travel guide

Site: Angkor
Location: Cambodia
Year of designation in UNESCO world cultural heritage: 1992
Category: cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

Reason for designation: the ancient capitals of the khmer Empire are architectural and artistic achievements of the ancient world's most remarkable.

Hidden behind the forests of the province Siem Reap of Cambodia, elegant monuments of an ancient city stone fly off into the sky above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park.


The different capitals of the khmer Empire flourished here from the 9th to the 15th century, while their leaders presided over an empire that stretched from Myanmar (Burma) to the Viet Nam. Including wooded areas and "suburbs" newly discovered Angkor spans more than 400 square miles (1,000 square kilometers), an area much larger than five boroughs of New York City.

Although one of the hundreds of temples and the surviving structures, the massive Angkor Wat is the most famous of all the temples of Cambodia, it appears on the flag nation and he is revered for a good reason. The "temple mountain" in 12th century was built like a spiritual of the Hindu God Vishnu. The temple is an architectural triumph of artistic treasures as the galleries of the reliefs that surround many walls and sustainable stories in the history of Cambodia and the legend.

In other parts of Angkor of the fabulous scenes of everyday life are serious, offering researchers a valuable window on the past.

The archives of Angkor did not say, however, is why the leaders of the city have abandoned the site and relocated near the current Phnom Penh. Theories are penchees to defeats in battle and moving religious observances, (because the Khmer Hinduism was gradually replaced by Theravada Buddhism in the 13th and 14th centuries), but the mystery has puzzled scientists for centuries.

Angkor is as much water as it is on the stone site enjoys a huge system of artificial canals, dikes and reservoirs, including the largest (West Baray) is 5 miles (8 km) long and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in width. These incredible feats of engineering are an integral part of the overall design of a site which remains faithful to the religious symbolism. The moat, for example, are images representative oceans surrounding Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods.

But these massive works have also served a practical purpose by skillfully to exploit the river and rain water to quench the thirst of some 750,000 inhabitants the largest pre-industrial city in the world. This water also irrigated is producing wealth of crops such as rice, which served the Khmer as currency.

Some researchers believe that the fall of this elaborate water system leads at the end of Angkor. A series of weak monsoon and / or the collapse of water works because of environmental problems such as deforestation, which has led floods destructive and muffled the sediment system, could tip the movement of power to Phnom Penh.

Even after his glory days were past, Angkor remained popular with the Buddhist pilgrims who traveled through Southeast Asia and beyond. Today, the site also attracts secular travellers, nearly one million per year.

When Angkor was named site of world heritage in 1992, it has also been added to the list of world heritage in danger, the incomparable site was threatened by looting, plagued by illegal excavations, and even dotted with land mines. In 1993, UNESCO has launched a major campaign of restoration and safeguarding of Angkor. Thanks to a textbook case of the Angkor international cooperation have rebounded dramatically that it has withdrawn from the list of world heritage in danger in 2004.

UNESCO continues to be part of the future of Angkor, in collaboration with the Cambodian authorities to ensure that access to and the development of tourism do not compromise this great cultural wealth.

How to get there

The nearby town of Siem Reap may be achieved by good roads of Phnom Penh and buses and taxis make the trip regularly. Those who prefer to travel by boat can also make the journey from Phnom Penh to some five or six hours, or about the same time of course as by road. The Siem Reap airport has a service in Phnom Penh and regular flights abroad for the Thailand, Singapore, the Viet Nam and Laos.

How to visit

Growing city! Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor and is filled with hotels, restaurants and Offices of tourism and souvenirs for all budgets. Coaches are available for those whose routes correspond to what is proposed in general of the visits of the main sites of Angkor. Those interested in exploring the more remote structures and off-the-beaten track can rent cars or motorcycles with drivers and / or guides that are also able to suggest itineraries. Balloon rides offer a unique aerial perspective from which you can see the grand design of the Angkor complex.

When to visit

The high tourist season at Angkor is December and January, when rainfall is less likely and the climate is very kind. Temperatures can climb soared in the spring and peak in April generally prior to the season of the monsoon by May / June. The trip during the monsoon season can be uncomfortable. Post-mousson rainy season continues until October, but the rains are sporadic and should not deter the well-prepared, although some isolated roads can wash at the end of the rainy season.

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