Columns support an elevated walk way leading to Preah Khan Temple. Angkor, Cambodia.
I took a short holiday with my mother to Siem Reap, some weeks ago. It was a whirlwind 4 days; Mum is not one to linger, so despite the X30 slowing her down some, I didn’t have a lot of time to hang around looking for things to shoot.
We had with us, a guide who was extremely knowledgeable about his country’s political, religious and social history, which was a boon. For two of the four days that we visited the major temple ruins of Angkor, I was walking around mostly open mouthed, trying to wrap my head around the passage of time between the conception of these monuments, and my standing in their midst.
Around and over us, the magnificence of trees.
Your post had me scrambling to do some on-line research on the Angkor temple complexes and general background of the area. For Americans of my age, Southeast Asia means one thing: Vietnam. A good measure of my ignorance is that I would have said (guessed really) Angkor Wat was in Thailand??? It was thus fascinating to learn how important the Khmer people (who make up most of Cambodia) are to the area. They created the earliest known written script in the region (which influenced others) and were likely its first users of bronze. I was also surprised to learn that the Khmer Empire (builders of Preah Khan in the late 12th Century) at one time ruled most of the several present day countries in that entire area. Their Empire fell finally only in the same general time frame as the Ottoman Turks ended once and for all the Holy Roman Empire by conquering (then) Constantinople.
If I (for sure and I suspect others) thought of present day Cambodia at all it would have been mostly in terms of the (near) disastrous Khmer Rouge genocidal campaign of mid(ish) 20th Century. I certainly knew nothing of their past greatness and, frankly, precious little of their more recent rebound during which their economy has been second only to China in its rate of growth.
Anyway, thanks for the post, I am quite glad for the curiosity it engendered. BTW, how’d “Mum” get along with that X30?
All my prior knowledge of Cambodia encompassed said Khmer Rouge campaign too. I had no idea of the reach and depth of the Khmer Empire myself until I went there, Greg. I was staggered… still am! There’s nothing like standing in the ruins of history to provoke curiosity – being from Southeast Asia, I am sadly, least curious about the history of the region of my home. It was great to be introduced to it by someone who gave it such life. Post holiday, it’s making for fascinating reading.
Mum’s learning her X30. She’s taking to it pretty quickly!