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February 23, 2004

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The Khmer's erected the Angkor temples from the 9th-14th centuries and created a brilliant architectural wonder. At that time Khmer kings controlled South East Asia, from southern Vietnam in the east, to China in the north, and Myanmar in the west. They administered the empire from here, constructing temples, palaces, and reservoirs. What's left covers many square kilometers and can occupy visitors for a week's exploration.
Many structures comprise the Angkor complex. Jayavarman VII, Angkor's greatest king, constructed a fortified city called Angkor Thom, 10 sq. kilometers surrounded by a stone wall. Inside this area we find one of our favorite temples: the Bayon. Two hundred and sixteen smiling heads decorate fifty four towers and face all directions. No one knows why.
Nature competes with Man in construction. Huge trees reclaim the land for the jungle, their massive roots move elephant sized rocks and burrow into the foundation.
Angkor builders never worried about law suits, they built vertical walkways without railings to the temple tops, stairways to heaven.