The Khmer Empire in present day Cambodia once ruled much of Southeast Asia between the ninth and 15th centuries. The most famous of the many remains from this mighty empire is the temple complex of Angkor Wat, which King Suryavarman II first constructed during the early 12th century.
Today, Angkor Wat remains the world’s biggest religious structure and has become not only Cambodia’s most visited tourist attraction, but also a major national symbol prominently displayed on Cambodia’s flag. Siem Reap, just five and a half kilometers south of Angkor Wat, is the closest major city to this majestic temple.
At least half of all foreign tourists to Cambodia paid a visit to Angkor Wat during their stay in the country, but Angkor Wat is merely the most famous of the many well-preserved Khmer Empire ruins in Angkor Archaeological Park.
Angkor Archaeological Park is also where the remains of the Khmer Empire's ancient capital city, Angkor Thom, can be found. No other city prior to the Industrial Revolution had a larger population than Angkor Thom, which has been estimated to be home to as many as one million people.
The best known of Angkor Archaeological Park’s over 100 or more sacred stone temples, aside from Angkor Wat itself, are Bayon, Baphuon, the Elephant Terrace, and the temple mountain of Phnom Bakheng.
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