Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat, which means “temple city,” is spread throughout 500 acres, making it one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. An astounding 50 percent of international tourists visit Cambodia just to see this religious monument.
Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150 AD as a Hindu temple site dedicated to the god Vishnu, but it was later converted into a Buddhist temple site in the 14th century.
- According to inscriptions on the temple, the construction of Angkor Wat involved 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants—and it still wasn’t fully completed!
- Each structure was built using Khmer sandstone blocks that were bonded together almost invisibly with a vegetable compound instead of mortar.
- Unlike other temples that face east, Angkor aligns to the west—a direction typically associated with death in Hindu culture.
Over 200 hidden paintings have been discovered in the 213-foot-tall central tower using technology NASA developed for use on the Mars rovers, which revealed centuries-old murals of elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles, and people riding horses—all invisible to the naked eye!
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