ANGKOR THOM THE GREAT CITY

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Angkor Thom(Khmer literally"Great City",located in Siem Reap Cambodia was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer Empire.It was established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII,It cover's an area of 9km,within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors.At the centre of the city is Jayavarman's state temple,the Bayon,with the other major sites clustered around the victory square immediately to the north.

Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Jayavarman VII's empiere,and was the centre of his massive building programme.One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride.(Higham,121)

Angkor Thom seems not to be the first Khmer capital on the site, however Yasodharapura,dating from three centuries earlier,was centred slightly further northwest,and Angkor Thom overlapped parts of it.The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphoun,and Phimeanakas,which was incorporated into a Royal Palace.The Khmers did not draw any clear distinctions between Angkor Thom and Yashodharapura: even in the 14th century an inscription used the earlier name.(Higham 138) the name of Angkor Thom-Great city was in use from the 16th century.The las t temple known to have constucted in Angkor Thom was Mangalartha,which was dedicated in 1295.Thereafter the existing structures continued to be modified from time to time,but any new creations were in perishable materials and have not surviced.In the following centuries Angkor Thom remained the capital of a Kingdom in decline intil it was abandoned some time prior to 1609,when an early western visitor wrote of an unihabited city,"as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato" which some thought to have been built by the Roman emperor Trajan.(Higham140)it is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000-150,000 people.

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