Sacred Sites in Southeast Asia | Preah Khan at Kampong Svay

Preah Khan at Kampong Svay
Cambodia, Preah Vihear province, Angkor period (ruler: Suryavarman I), 11th century, Sandstone and laterite

Pictures alone cannot possibly communicate the vastness of Preah Khan in Kampong Svay province. The temple lies roughly one hundred kilometers directly east of the Angkor center and is difficult to reach. The complex today is overgrown with dense, lush jungle and provides an intriguing challenge to explore. From ground level it is difficult to appreciate the scope and scale. Aerial imagery alone can begin to give a sense that Preah Khan was not a single temple but an immense complex of shrines and auxiliary buildings surrounded by walls, moats, and rectangular artificial lakes. In short, it was a city of its own accord, connected with Angkor through ancient networks of bridges and roads. Scholars have recently shown that the area was important for smelting and mining, and that it served as a rich source of minerals for the entire Angkor Empire.