Angkor Wat is the centerpiece of the Angkor ruins. Created to represent the Universe in stone, its five towers represent the sacred Hindu Mt Meru, its courtyards the continent, and the 200m wide water-filled moats, the ocean.
It is the largest and one of the best preserved monuments in Angkor, and widely believed to be the largest religious structure in the world. Part of what was once a lost city, and not too long ago virtually cut off due to civil war, it is now visited by millions of tourists every year.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Walk across the quarter-mile stone paved causeway and note the statue of eight-armed Vishnu on the right. It was carved out of a single block of stone.
Angkor Wat is well known for the carvings of more than 3,000 asparas, each of them unique and showing off at least 30 different hairstyles and accessories.
Its intricate and stunning bas-reliefs measure some 800m long, with most of them completed in the 12th century. The most famous of these is the Churning of the Ocean of Milk on the east gallery, which narrates in beautifully executed carvings, the myth of Creation. The south gallery shows King Suryavarman II victorious in battle over the Chams whereas further east on the same gallery are depicted the rewards and horrors of heaven and hell.