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History of Angkor

Pre-angkorian

The Context

a country, the Tchenla in where peole lives since Neolithic era + a region blessed by the gods: fertile argillaceous grounds bordering a large and very full of fish lake + a brilliant civilization enriched by Indian and Chinese influences. Since Phnom Kulen, a huge sanstoned plateau, run rivers (" stung ") which waterises, in rainy season, pre-angkorian rice plantations.

Tchenla

from Bhavapura, their capital, the kings of Tchenla take the control of Funan, (south of Cambodia maritime side) Construction, at Sambor Prei Kuk (east of the Angkor region) of the first mayor pre-angkorian temple.

In spite of the efforts of Jayavarman, the empire is parcelled out. There is a small kingdom: Aninditapura located in the Angkor region. The site of the capital of this kingdom remains mysterious... Probably, at the edge of the Puok River.

The Warrior Prince Jayavarman II conquers Tchenla, settles in Angkor region, goes up on the throne of Aninditapura. At that time, all Cambodia was a vassal state of the "Javanese" Empire.

Jayavarman II fights around Angkor, increases the kingdom and émancipe it of the supervision Javanese. In 802, since Phnom Kulen, he proclaims himself Master of the World by the will of Civa. This act marks traditionally the beginning of the Angkorian era.

Angkor at the beginning of the 9th century

Three main towns At the East side : Purandarapura, maybe the hugest one, built at the 8th century and articulated around Ak Yum and Prei Khmegn temples. At the Center: a great mystery but there was something indeed, which has been covered Thereafter by "modern" Angkor. There was even, aligned with Ak Yum, a significant temple on Phnom Bakheng (already) In the south: a first capital, Hariharalaya in where Jayavarman II dies at 835 after a long and very agitated reign.

Angkorian

Hariharalaya

Hariharalaya at the 9th century: the first capital of Angkor After the death of Jayavarman II, his son Jayavarman III goes up on the throne. Its reign was long also, but much more peaceful.

Jayavarman III built the temple of Prei Monti as well as a brick pyramid which will become after a while the first major angkorian wonder, Bakong

Indravarman

Indravarman, a son of Jayavarman III ends Bakong by covering it with sandstone. Then it will be the construction of the temple of Prah Kau, and overall, the realization of a first Baray (Indratataka) Barays are gigantic laying-up basins of rain water. These works will constitute thereafter the a master piece of angkorian prosperity.

Yaçovarman Indravarman's son, will complete this work, building, on an small artificial square island, (located in the center of the basin) a temple made up of 4 brick towers: Prasat Loleï

Yaçovarman

Yasodharapura: An ambitious vision. It was impossible for Yaçovarman to develop Hariharalaya towards the south because of the proximity of the Tonle Sap lake Yasovarman will completely refit the city located near the Phnom Bakheng First phase: the river Siem Reap is diverted to allow the installation of Eastern Baray Second phase: Supplied with rain water and those of Stung Roluos, Eastern Baray is realized... in the south: formation of a large rice field

Third phase: in the center of the city, Phnom Bakheng is completely transformed into a " perfectly designed" sandstone pyramid Fourth phase: The other hills (Phnom Bok and Phnom Krom) are capped by brick temples. The territory of Yasovarman is thus clearly marked out. Fifth phase: Installation of a gigantic square moat (200 meters of width, 4 kilometers on side) Construction of the roads, in particular the one of the diagonal "Lolei roadway" leading to Hariharalaya

Yasodarapura: but a broken dash. Yasovarman dies into 910. He probably left with its sons the mission to complete its hydraulic works. Some people believes that the north side of the big moat was never finished.

At the proximity of the Phnom Bakheng, a brick pyramid on 3 levels - Baksei Chamkrong – is built. A "not royal" initiative: the construction of Prasat Kravan, temple of 5 brick towers dedicated to Vishnu.

Yasodarapura Intramuros was maybe never completely urbanized. In particular its southern part which was probably completely dedicated to agriculture. The two sons of Yasovarman died and their sons did not regn ... An uncle, the Prince of Koh Ker takes away the throne to his place, located at about hundred kilometers in the east of Angkor

Jayavarman IV

Angkor provincial. Angkor stops temporarily to be the political center of the Kingdom. But it continues its demographic rise because of its great richness, based on its agricultural potential. In Koh Kher: Jayavarman IV built two major temples: Prasat Thom, and Prasat Prang, an amazing pyramid on 7 floors culminating with 35 meters.

Rajendravarman

Angkor grows... out of its moats. The Royalty returns in Angkor after an animated succession of which will come out victorious Rajendravarman, King of Bhavapura. Rajendravarman builds Mebon, right in the middle of Eastern Baray. In the same sector, in the south, it will be Pré Rup a majestic temple mountain out of bricks and laterite.

Angkor grows... out of Angkor! Banteay Srei, jewel of Art Khmer is built in Isravapura, (north of Angkor). This temple is the work of Yajnavarâha, a Brahman who had, under several reigns, some immense powers.

At the end of Rajendravarman's regn, the city of Angkor has two main towns: Yasodharapura at the north of the Phnom Bakheng… … And Rajendrhavapura, at the eastern, around the temple Pre Rup.

Jayavarman V, Rajendravarman's son realizes new works at the north of Yasodharapura, Ta Keo, Khleang North without changing basic design of the city.

Angkor is sought the century of turbulences. After 32 years of a peaceful reign, Jayavarman V died with no clear succession. So, began in Angkor ten years of chaos. Jayaviravarman occupies the trone of which it will be dislodged without cares by another more powerful usurper: Suryavarman

Suryavarman I

By building Western Baray, Suryavarman puts end at the urban configuration of Yasodarapura. A gigantic agricultural zone is born thus in the Western Southern sector. In addition, Purandarapura, the old city of the sector Ak Yum is covered by waters.

Suryavarman gives to Phiméanakas its current form (three levels pyramid , vis-a-vis with the northern axis of Phnom Bakheng). Phiméanakas becomes the temple-chapel of the Palace of the Kings, which is thus installed in its final site… And surrounded by a powerful sidewall.

Udyadityavarman II, a son of Suryavarman completes Baphuon, a sumptuous and mysterious pyramid. In spite of the importance of this temple, its site does not indicate as a " Central Mount " of the city imagined by Suryavarman.

Angkor at the end of the 11th century. The successors of Suryavarman's dinasty were not famous builders... This period was turbid, and even episodically violent. Anyway, Angkor continues its agricultural and demographic development... Art and architecture open out far from Angkor, in Phimai, Kompong Svay...

At that time disturbed, a King made build a wall...... Thus supplementing in an inelegant, but very effective way the defense set consisted by the ditches and the barays

Suryavarman II

First apogee, Angkor capital of South East Asia Suryavarman II, a great conqueror goes up on the throne . He is the author of Angkor Vat, the masterpiece of Khmer art.

A part of the water which fed the Southern rice plantation of Angkor feeds now on the moats of Angkor Vat Other constructions of this times : Thomanon, Chau Say Tevoda, Banteay Samre

Angkor in the middle of the 12th century: greatness and decline… The whole South East Asia is now cambodian. Angkor is the largest and the nicest city of tha world. The succession of terrible Suryavarman II get the country in chaos. Not less than 4 kings in 30 years... The empire built with glory imploses.

Urbanization of the south (Angkor Vat) and the east (Banteay Samre) of Angkor. Angkor undergoes heavily the revenges-actions of his neighbours, subjected by Suryavarman II. Chams, come from the current central Vietnamese, even succeed in occupying the Khmer capital...

Angkor with medium of 12th century : Rebirth. Jayavarman VII after hard battles finally wins the invader Cham and climb on the throne. At this time, he is about fifty years old. Then, begins the reign of one of more astonishing king builder of all the times.

JAYAVARMAN VII

The great reign Completion of "Angkor Eternal ". The first masterpiece of the old King: to make of some new with some old...... Construction of Angkor Thom with re-using of existent walls and moats.

The major part of the population of Ankor is gathered in cities girded by walls. At the center of these, there is powerfull buddhist sanctuaries : Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm, Prah Khan.

Significant hydraulic work is undertaken, in particular in the north of Angkor (Baray Jayatataka) Temples, hospitals, buddhist foundations are built everywhere in Cambodia. Two particularly astonishing temples, are founded: Neak Pean and especially Bayon, the temple with the 54 faced towers, in full center of the Large City.

Angkor at 13 th and 14 th centuries. A whole of fabulous cities: the most large, beautiful, wonderful of the world