Bayon Temple

Bayon in Angkor Thom is next to Angkor Wat, the most famous and most impressive temple complex in Siem Reap in Cambodia.

bayon temple in angkor, siem reap cambodiaThe Bayon temple is famous mainly because of its towers several meters high, with carved stone faces.

In the late 12th century, King Jayavarman VII began building the new capital of the former Khmer Empire, Angkor Thom, the great city. The site was rebuilt over the centuries, and became more complex than other buildings.

bayon headsThe Bayon Heads in Ankor, Siem Reap Cambodia.

In the center of the walled big city, Angkor Thom, Bayon was built as the main temple. The Bayon temple is distinguished by several features from the others in Angkor.

The temple is surrounded not by walls but by open arcades and the central sanctuary is round. On the towers around 200 up to 7 meters high faces were carved into the stone.

beng-mealea-temple-angkor-cambodiaJungle temple in Angkor.

Many of the Angkor Kings build their own Temple and new Capitals. Bayon as well as Angkor Tom but had been used by a few following Kings.

The temple was not like many other destroyed but always supplemented by annexes. This results in a highly complex picture with a variety of stairs, narrow paths, small temples and colonnades.

In the 15. Century the Khmer Empire was defeated from the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya and Angkor was abandoned. Angkor Thom and thus the Bayon was largely forgotten.

The area of Angkor was still inhabited and used for agricultural purposes, but most temples except the Angkor Wat were hardly visited, maintained and thereby overgrown by tropical forest.

After the end of the reign of the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese occupation in the late 1980s, the Bayon, as well as the other temples in Angkor has been largely restored.

The most striking feature of the temple are the towers with the high huge smiling faces. Originally, the number of towers had been 49, of which by today only 37 have been rebuilt in part.

tower, four facesOn most of the towers four faces can be seen which are aligned with the four cardinal directions, while some have only two or three faces.

With Bayon the design focus is not in the architecture, but in the real-life sculptural reliefs.

The central location, Temple Mount is surrounded by two square-scale galleries, the outer galleries show reliefs with historical narratives of Khmer history.

 

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