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Preah Kahn

UNESCO World Heritage site near Siem Reap

Preah Khan, which means 'sacred sword’ is a temple that has been left in a largely unreconstructed state. It is not as visually stunning as Ta Prohm, but it is a big, explorable temple complex, with large trees, moss, and dark stone corridors. It also has a wealth of carvings, and provides many photo opportunities.

There are networks of smaller passages, which open onto colonnades, courtyards, and rooms of all sizes. The central portion of the structure is fairly open, but exploring the outer passageways becomes increasingly difficult because of fallen stones, tree roots, and tiny openings which lead into almost completely dark interiors.

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Originally built as a Buddhist monastery and school, it had over 1000 monks in residence. It also was the residence of King Jayavarman VII while the royal city of Angkor Thom was being built. Preah Khan is dedicated to the father of Jayavarman VII, and is architecturally similar to Ta Prohm, which was dedicated to his mother.

Like other Buddhist temples of the time, many of the Buddha images were destroyed and defaced in the later resurgence of Hinduism in the empire.

Preah Kahn

Location: North of Angkor Thom
Construction period: Late 12th century C.E.
Religion: Buddhist
Built by: King Jayavarman VII
Building style: Bayon

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