Angkor, Cambodia Angkor Wat the temple Halliburton visits, is still one of the world’s largest religious monuments. It’s name means “Capital Temple.” It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It receives over 2,000,000 visitors a year. Indo-China is more commonly referred to as Southeast Asia.
Watch a video of Angkor, Cambodia. (6:25) VIDEO The great temple at Angkor, in Indo-China, is the largest and finest temple standing in the world today. Built more than 500 years ago by a vanished race of master-builders called Khymers, this mammoth temple has been wonderfully preserved despite the efforts of the jungle to destroy it. It is the biggest building in Asia, yet no coral cameo was ever so delicately fashioned as each block of its building stone. After being lost for centuries in the depths of the forest, Angkor was rediscovered, accidentally, in 1861, by a French naturalist looking for butterflies. (CC BY 2.0 ©2009 Dennis Jarvis)
The city of Angkor is protected by a high wall. Piercing the wall are five magnificent Victory Gates like this one. Each gate is 65 feet high. At the top are four heads of the greatest Khymer god, facing the four points of the compass. When the French naturalist came upon the gate, at the time of the discovery of Angkor, the jungle had covered all the lower tiers of stone, so that the explorer saw only the huge stone faces peering at him from the treetops. (CC BY 2.0 ©2018 Marco Verch)
To the Khymers, who built Angkor, snakes were sacred. On every side one sees images of cobras with seven heads. Leading to one of the great Victory Gates is a roadway bordered by two lines of stone giants, each eight feet tall, holding the long body of a huge seven-headed stone cobra. A Chinese traveler who visited Angkor when it was the living capital of a rich empire wrote about this amasing snake-monument: “On each side of the road there are 54 genii who look like gigantic and terrible generals turned to stone—108 statues all together. They hold the body of a sacred cobra. The top of the cobra’s head is three times as high as a tall man.” (CC BY 2.0 ©2011 Jorge Lascar)