Just outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia, is what was the capital of the Khmer Empire which lasted from the 9th t0 13th centuries. “Angkor” comes from the Sanskrit word for “city.” Jayavarman VII was a Hindu monarch who declared himself to be the “god king” and built a city he felt was worthy of his exalted status.
Angkor was the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an elaborate infrastructure. It was an urban sprawl that covered over 386 square miles with over 1 million residents. At its center were the famous temples. There were over a thousand temples, many of which are now nothing more than piles of brick and rubble in the rice fields surrounding Siem Reap.
The Bayon Temple was built late 12th or early 13th century as the official state temple of Buddhist King Jayavarman VII at center of Angkor. The outer wall has bas-reliefs depicting everyday life in Angkor and historical events. There were 49 “face towers” with approximately 200 giant faces. 37 towers remain with their gigantic smiling faces.
Another Angkor temple, nicknamed the “Jungle Temple”, is now under massive restoration and contains one of the most famous doors, featured in several Indian Jones movies. Angelina Jole is somewhat of a goddess in Cambodia, having officially been given Cambodian citizenship.