Every year, millions of people come to admire the beauty and architecture of Angkor Wat – it’s truly an Eastern treasure. And, whether or not you get to see this wonder for yourself, it is definitely worth getting to know better from afar. With that in mind, here are some fun facts about Angkor Wat you’ll want to remember for time to come.
1. What is Angkor Wat?
Or, “what is Wat?” As it happens, Angkor Wat is a colossal temple complex and pilgrimage site based in Cambodia. To give you a better general idea of its location, it can be found in Cambodia’s northern province, Siem Reap!
2. How big is Angkor Wat?
Believe it or not, Angkor Wat covers an area of over 400 square kilometers (around 154 square miles)! This makes it the world’s biggest religious monument – in fact, if you would like to truly explore the whole area, it would probably take you a few days!
3. The name game!
If “Angkor Wat” sounds a little strange to you, then its translation will help it make much more sense! Angkor Wat comes from the Sanskrit word “nagara,” which means Capital City, and the Khmer word “Wat,” which means temples. Therefore, Angkor Wat literally means the City of Temples. Sounds like an awesome Indiana Jones movie, right?
4. It’s got pride of place on a flag.
If, upon seeing Angkor Wat, a few elements ring a bell, it could be that you have seen the monument before elsewhere. Maybe not in photos or paintings, but you might well have seen it on the Cambodian flag! Interestingly, Cambodia is one of only two countries to feature a national monument on its national flag! The other country to do so is Afghanistan.
5. It’s a major draw for tourism.
It is believed that many tourists come to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat for themselves. In fact, it is believed that about 50% of Cambodia’s tourists come for Angkor Wat specifically – how many other monuments can draw these kinds of crowds?
6. Is it a wonder?
Due to its size, historical significance, and cultural importance today, you might assume that Angkor Wat is one of the World’s Seven Wonders. However, as it happens, it is not! In fact, during the 2007 vote to find the next set of Wonders, judges decided that Angkor Wat was not worthy of the title. Maybe it’ll get lucky in the next pick!
7. Preah Pisnulok?
Angkor Wat was not always known under its current moniker. In fact, before the 16th Century, it was known as Preah Pisnulok, which came from King Suryavarman II’s official title, as he had ordered the temple built.
8. The stars played a part in its building.
What’s more, the outer wall axis that surrounds the temple complex is equal to the solar years in days – with absolute precision. And, if that wasn’t enough, the perimeter is also equal to the lunar year in days. Now that took some precise calculations!
9. It was a shrine to Lord Vishnu.
Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple built in dedication to Lord Vishnu. However, with the arrival of more and more Buddhist people in the 12th Century, Angkor Wat became something of a Buddhist temple. To this day, it’s a vital pilgrimage site for millions of Buddhists.
FAQs about Angkor Wat
What makes Angkor Wat so famous?
Angkor Wat is famous for being the biggest religious monument in the world! It is also famous for its fascinating design and for containing the remains of the capitals of the Khmer Empire.
Why was Angkor Wat built?
Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat as a funerary temple for his own remains. The temple was then dedicated to Hinduism and the Gods Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma.
How long did it take to build Angkor Wat?
Since Angkor Wat is so big, it should come as no surprise that it took quite a while to build! In fact, many believe that it took about 30 years to finish the construction!
Do you know any fun facts about Angkor Wat? Share them in the comments below!