Preah Vihear Temple, World Cultural Heritage (Declared by UNESCO on 7 July 2008)

Location: east of the midsection of the mountain range of Dangrèk and on the edge of a giant cliff, 625 meters above sea level, in the northern part of the Preah Vihear Province, Kingdom of Cambodia

Access: Enter and leave the temple by the south entrance.

Size: 400 meters by 800 meters

Date: the 9th century to the 12th century

Kings: Yasovarman I, Suryavarman I, Jayavarman VI and Suryavarman II

Religion: Hindu (dedicated to Siva)

Art Style: Banteay Srei and others

History of Preah Vihear Temple

In the late 9th century, Khmer King Yasovarman I (AD 889-910) originally began work on the construction of a sacred temple on the mountain range of Dangrèk known as Sekharesvara, meaning “Power of the Mountain”, dedicated to Siva.

Spiritual development, increased political power and economic growth were factors that inspired the Khmer kings to the architectural imagination. It took 148 years more to construct the whole temple during the reigns of subsequent kings, such as King Suryavarman I (AD 1002-1050), King Jayavarman VI (AD 1080-1107), and King Suryavarman II (AD 1113-1150) in the various art styles, looking like a homogeneous Hindu universe, or a magical home of gods.

The Sacred Site of Preah Vihear Temple was declared “World Cultural Heritage” on 7 July 2008, according to cultural criteria defined by UNESCO. The protected site is exceptional for the quality of its ornamental architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple. It is now a main tourist attraction in Cambodia.

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