Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Date Opened: 12th Century C.E.
Angkor Wat is a vast Buddhist complex located roughly five miles north of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Spread across more than 400 acres, Angkor Wat is said to be the largest religious monument in the world.
It was built by Emperor Suryavarman II, as a Hindu temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and it soon became the political centre of his empire. But by the end of the 12th century it had become a Buddhist temple. As the new Emperor Jayavarman VII moved the centre to another site, Angkor Wat soon became an inactive temple, but it still serves as an important tourist attraction in Cambodia.
The name Angkor Wat translates to ‘Temple City’ in the Khmer language. Being spread across such a large expanse, it took several decades to complete the construction of Angkor Wat. The design is supposed to represent Mount Meru, the home of the gods, and the five towers are intended to recreate the five peaks of Mount Meru.