Angkor — the city in the heart of the jungle

October 14, 2012 22:27

"Angkor — metropolitan area Khmer Empire IX-XV centuries, where the preserved Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom — outstanding examples of Khmer art, which were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site … Sizes complex imagination: 24 kilometers from east to west and 8 — from the north to the south. It is located on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake about 240 kilometers north-
west of the capital of Cambodia — Phnom Penh. "

Lost City

In Cambodia, for centuries there was a legend lost in the jungle of a large ancient city.
The first European was able to find it back in the 1601 Spanish missionary Marcelo Ribandeyro. However, while finding no one was interested. Second it opened in the mid XIX century French naturalist and explorer Henri Mouhot.

Traveling to remote areas of Cambodia, Mouhot had heard the legend of the "lost city", in which he lives, only a handful of monks. These stories are typical of the Eastern countries, initially did not attract his attention. But sometimes the hunters, fishermen and farmers from the villages on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake, saying that they had seen this mysterious city, and even called him the exact location. When the traveler told about it, and some abandoned by fate in this region missionary, then Muo wanted to see the legendary "lost city" with his own eyes.

Together they set off on a boat, then walked a long way on foot through the rain forest on a narrow path, and one day in January 1860 a Frenchman, spreading bushes, stunned amazement. Appeared before him the city, which we now know as Angkor. Gigantic temples rise above the highest trees, and even vines entwine them could not hide the majestic nobility of the towers. Vast terraces were covered with wonderful bas-reliefs and statues of dancing women were looking out the leaves and litter-filled niches.

Under the veil of legends

After spending three weeks at Angkor, Henri Mouhot not seen a tenth of the city, after wading through the overgrown streets and squares was sometimes impossible. But what he saw was enough to shake the imagination of the traveler. Before leaving, he kept inquiring at the nearest village residents who knew about the city in the jungle:

— Who built it? Why do people left the city? When did this happen?

But the peasants replied only:

City — the work of the king of angels Pra-Yong.

— This town is built giants that once lived in our area.

— The city will build, because people can not do it.

A year later, during his fourth expedition in neighboring Laos, traveler contracted malaria and died.
But he managed to write a book, in which he told of the "lost city".

In addition to speculation about the origins of peasant Angkor, there is another romantic legend. Was in ancient times, the king of Cambodia, a son named Preah Ket Mealea. The fame of his mind and gone beyond the beauty of the state and once reached the ears of the thunder god Indra. Intrigued, God decided to get acquainted with the prince, and invited him to her house.

Indra's palace so like the young man that he decided to stay in it forever.

But dancers delight the eyes of the God of Thunder, suddenly smitten with love for Sihanoukville. After some thought, Indra, to restore order in the heavens, sent the Prince back to earth.

However, during the time that the Preah spent in the heavenly palace, God had become attached to him, and to soften the bitterness of parting, Indra built a palace on the ground — an exact copy of their own. Thus was the Angkor Wat.

The kings of the founding

Here is the temple complex satellite

But this is just a legend. In reality, the emergence of the Angkor period associated with the reign of King Jayavarman II (802-850-d or 770-835 years). The founder of the Khmer Empire, otherwise — Kambudzhadeshi once occupied the territory of modern Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam, started out as a minor ruler of the principality.
Land grabs one of the neighbors, Jayavarman II founded a new capital near the place where later was built Angkor. This area has attracted the prince his strategic position. For several years he started out his military campaigns, but then gave up on the chosen site for the capital. He moved a few miles away, but this place did not have to Jayavarman II to taste. Total Jayavarman II built for his four state capitals: Indrapuru, Hariharalayyu, Amarendrapuru and Mahendrapuru.

One of his successors — Yasovarman I (during the reign: 889-910 or 889-917 years) — paid much attention to the deification of the royal power.

This could be done only by enlisting the absolute support of the priests. For this king founded dozens of monasteries, built temples of various religious movements, and finally began building a new capital, which would be worthy of a living god. Capital given the name Yashodharapura.

That it is now known as Angkor, which translated from Khmer means "city of Yashoda", "Holy (main) city."
Rouge dug many channels, digging a reservoir, the city paved wide paved roads. On all sides he was surrounded by a wall and covered an area of 16 square kilometers. In the city center, where all roads converge, the temple was built Phnom Bakheng. Nobles tried to keep up with the Kings, and in a few decades, all the hills around the town were crowned temples belonging to the nobility. Construction continued even in times of strife that followed the death of Yasovarman I. It was at this time was built a small, but is considered a masterpiece of architecture Shiva temple of Banteay Sri. But the great temples of Angkor were built over a hundred years, the period of greatest prosperity of the empire.

Rise and Fall

One of the wonderful bas-reliefs, covering the walls of Angkor

In 1113 the throne a young but already worn a thirst royal majesty Suryavarman II. Having won the strife of other pretenders to the throne, he gave large gifts to the church, then gathered an army and went to conquer the neighboring countries.
But they did not want to obey. Army dispatched to northern Vietnam, suffered a severe defeat. A fleet of seven hundred ships sent there a year later, also had to return empty-handed. Then the king made an alliance with the state Tyampa located in central and southern Vietnam. However, in the final battle with the northerners tyamy defected to the enemy, and Suryavarman II was forced to flee. Punitive expedition against traitors tyamov also proved unsuccessful. And then the king Kambudzhadeshi switched to the internal affairs of the empire.

Reinforcing the cult of the god-king, he ordered the construction of Angkor Wat — the largest religious building in the world. Do not be surprised, Angkor Wat, is larger than any European cathedrals, Muslim mosques or Buddhist Datsan. Its area is 200 hectares, and the height of the central sanctuary — 65 meters. The towers of the temple were once covered with gold, and on the perimeter he is still surrounded by a moat 190 meters.

Suryavarman II's successors continued the tradition of building giant structures. As a result, villages depopulated: who went into the army, who worked in construction. Began a series of peasant revolts. In these circumstances Tyampa went to war on the Empire, which collapsed under the blows of the South Vietnamese.

For a while she regained its former power Jayavarman VII. In 1178, he defeated the tyamov. In 1181 Jayavarman VII was crowned, the first Buddhist to the throne.

The cult of Shiva in the country was changed to worship Buddha. Jayavarman VII digging new channels, build roads and strengthened border. The inscriptions say that he had built 100 hospitals. When it was restored and is surrounded by a mighty wall of destroyed enemies Angkor. Today, this part of the city known as Angkor Thom. Its walls, square in plan, has a length of 30 km with a thickness of eight meters.
Around the walls are a hundred-meter trench width, the waters of which in the old days were full of crocodiles — it was the first series Defense of Angkor Thom, which was superior to any area of the city of medieval Europe. And in the middle of it stood a temple of Bayon, is striking in its complexity, darkness and cumbersome.

Jayavarman VII lived long and died at the age of 90. He left heirs extensive and powerful empire.
With each ruler of the empire dilapidated until the XV century, did not fall under the blows of the Siamese. Plundered the city gradually depopulated and overgrown with vines, becoming a beautiful legend. But at the end of the twentieth century temple complex, there are about 200 places of worship were once again brought back to life. It began extensive restoration work.

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