Cambodia And Angkor Wat

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Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total landmass of 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi), it is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwestSony VAIO VPCF24Q1E battery.

With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 68th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by approximately 95% of the Cambodian population. The country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 various hill tribes.[7] The capital and largest city is Phnom PenhSony VAIO VPCF13M1E/H battery; the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni, a monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council, as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen, who is currently the longest serving leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 yearsSony VAIO VPCF12Z1E/BI battery.

In 802 AD Jayavarman II declared himself king marking the beginning of the Khmer Empire which flourished for over 600 years and allowing successive kings to dominate much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianized kingdom built monumental temples such as Angkor Wat and facilitated the spread of first HinduismSony VAIO VPCF12S1E/B battery, then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, Cambodia was ruled as a vassal between its neighbors until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. Cambodia gained independence in 1953.

The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, giving rise to the Khmer Rouge, which took Phnom Penh in 1975. Cambodia reemerged several years later within a socialistic sphere of influence as the People's Republic of Kampuchea until 1993Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E/BI battery. After years of isolation, the war-ravaged nation was reunited under the monarchy in 1993 and has seen rapid progress in the economic and human resource areas while rebuilding from decades of civil war. Cambodia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth averaging 6.0% for the last 10 years. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E batteryIn 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2013, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.

Name

Main article: Name of Cambodia

The official name of the country in English is the "Kingdom of Cambodia", translated from the Khmer "/preăh riəchiənaːchaʔ kampuciə/", often shortened to just "Kampuchea" (Khmer: កម្ពុជា). Colloquially, Cambodians most often refer to their country as ស្រុកខ្មែរ (Khmer pronunciationSony VAIO VPCF13M1E/B battery: [srok kʰmae], Srok Khmer), meaning "The Land of the Khmers" or by using the slightly more formal form ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា (Khmer pronunciation: [prɑteːh kampuciə], Prateh Kampuchea), literally "The Country of Cambodia". The English form "Cambodia" is derived from "Cambodge", the French transcription of "Kampuchea".

HistorySony VAIO VPCF1318E/H battery

Main article: History of Cambodia

Pre-history

Main article: Early history of Cambodia

Glazed stoneware dating back to 12th century.

Khmer army going to war against the Cham, from a relief on the Bayon.

There is sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present day Cambodia, which includes quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, although their dating is unreliable.

Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during HoloceneSony VAIO VPCF13J0E/H battery: the most ancient Cambodian archeological site is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower layers produced a series of radiocarbon dates as of 6000 BC.

Upper layers in the same site gave evidence of transition to Neolithic, containing the earliest dated earthenware ceramics in CambodiaSony VAIO VPCF13E8E battery

Archeological records for the period between Holocene and Iron Age remain equally limited. Other prehistoric sites of somewhat uncertain date are Samrong Sen (not far from the ancient capital of Udong), where the first investigations began in 1877,[13] and Phum Snay, in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey.[14] Prehistoric artifacts are often found during mining activities in RatanakiriSony VAIO VPCF13E4E battery.

The most curious prehistoric evidence in Cambodia however is the various "circular earthworks", discovered in the red soils near Memot and in the adjacent region of Vietnam in the latter 1950s. Their function and age are still debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at least.

A pivotal event in Cambodian prehistory was the slow penetration of the first rice farmers from the north, which began in the late 3rd millennium BCSony VAIO VPCF12M1E/H battery.

Iron was worked by about 500 BC, with supporting evidence coming from the Khorat Plateau, in modern day Thailand. In Cambodia, some Iron Age settlements were found beneath Baksei Chamkrong and other Angkorian temples while circular earthworks, were found beneath Lovea a few kilometers north-west of Angkor. Burials, much richer than other types of findsSony VAIO VPCF12F4E/H battery, testify to improvement of food availability and trade (even on long distances: in the 4th century BC trade relations with India were already opened) and the existence of a social structure and labor organization.

Pre-Angkorian era and Angkorian era

Main articles: Kingdom of Funan, Chenla, and Khmer Empire

Angkor Wat

Faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara at Prasat Bayon

During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianized states of Funan and its successor, Chenla, coalesced in present-day Cambodia and southwestern VietnamSony VAIO VPCF12E1E/H battery. For more than 2,000 years, Cambodia absorbed influences from India, passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilizations that are now Thailand and Laos.[18] Little else is known for certain of these polities, however Chinese chronicles and tribute records do make mention of them. The chronicles suggest that after Jayavarman I of Chenla died around 690Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI battery, turmoil ensued which resulted in division of the kingdom into Land Chenla and Water Chenla which was loosely ruled by weak princes under the dominion of Java.

The Khmer Empire grew out of these remnants of Chenla becoming firmly established in 802 when Jayavarman II (reigned c790-850) declared independence from Java and proclaimed himself a DevarajaSony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery. He and his followers instituted the cult of the God-king and began a series of conquests that formed an empire which flourished in the area from the 9th to the 15th centuries.[19] Around the 13th century, monks from Sri Lanka introduced Theravada Buddhism to Southeast Asia.[20] The religion spread and eventually displaced Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism as the popular religion of AngkorSony VAIO VPCF23S1E battery.

The Khmer Empire was Southeast Asia's largest empire during the 12th century. The empire's center of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals was constructed during the empire's zenith. In 2007 an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world with an urban sprawl of 1,150 square miles. Sony VAIO VPCF231S1E batteryThe city, which could have supported a population of up to one million people[22] and Angkor Wat, the most well known and best-preserved religious temple at the site, still serve as reminders of Cambodia's past as a major regional power. The empire, though in decline, remained a significant force in the region until its fall in the 15th centurySony VAIO VPCF23Q1E battery.

Dark ages of Cambodia

Main article: Dark ages of Cambodia

The ancient city of Longvek

After a long series of wars with neighboring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Ayutthaya Kingdom and abandoned in 1432 because of ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown.[23][24] This led to a period of economic, social, and cultural stagnation when the kingdom's internal affairs came increasingly under the control of its neighborsSony VAIO VPCF23M1E battery. By this time, the Khmer penchant for monument building had ceased. Older faiths such as Mahayana Buddhism and the Hindu cult of the god-king had been supplanted by Theravada Buddhism for good.

The court moved the capital to Longvek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. Portuguese and Spanish travelers described the city as a place of flourishing wealth and foreign tradeSony VAIO VPCF22S8E battery. The attempt was short-lived however, as continued wars with Ayutthaya and the Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and Longvek being conquered and destroyed by King Naresuan the Great of Ayutthaya in 1594. A new Khmer capital was established at Udong south of Longvek in 1618, but its monarchs could survive only by entering into what amounted toSony VAIO VPCF22S1E battery alternating vassal relationships with the Siamese and Vietnamese for the next three centuries with only a few short-lived periods of relative independence.

In the nineteenth century a renewed struggle between Siam and Vietnam for control of Cambodia resulted in a period when Vietnamese officials attempted to force the Khmers to adopt Vietnamese customsSony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery. This led to several rebellions against the Vietnamese and appeals to Thailand for assistance. The Siamese–Vietnamese War (1841–1845) ended with an agreement to place the country under joint suzerainty. This later led to the signing of a treaty for French Protection of Cambodia by King Norodom ISony VAIO VPCF22L1E battery.

French colonization

Map of French Indochina

In 1863, King Norodom, who had been installed by Thailand, sought the protection of France from the Thai and Vietnamese after tensions grew between them. In 1867 the Thai king signed a treaty with France, renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of ThailandSony VAIO VPCF22J1E battery. The provinces were ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Thailand in 1906.

Cambodia continued as a protectorate of France from 1863 to 1953, administered as part of the colony of French Indochina, though occupied by the Japanese empire from 1941 to 1945.[26] Between 1874 and 1962, the total population increased from about 946,000 to 5.7 million. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery After King Norodom's death in 1904, France manipulated the choice of king, and Sisowath, Norodom's brother, was placed on the throne. The throne became vacant in 1941 with the death of Monivong, Sisowath's son, and France passed over Monivong's son, Monireth, feeling he was too independently minded. Instead, Norodom Sihanouk, a maternal grand-son of king Sisowath was enthroned. The French thought young Sihanouk would be easy to control. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H batteryThey were wrong, however, and under the reign of King Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953.[26]

[edit]Independence and Vietnam War

Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk. When French Indochina was given independence, Cambodia lost hope of regaining control over the Mekong Delta as it was awarded to VietnamSony VAIO VPCF11D4E battery. Formerly part of the Khmer Empire, the area had been controlled by the Vietnamese since 1698 with King Chey Chettha II granting Vietnamese permission to settle in the area decades before.[28] This remains a diplomatic sticking point with over one million ethnic Khmers (the Khmer Krom) still living in this region. The Khmer Rouge attempted invasions to recover the territory whichSony VAIO VPCF11C5E battery, in part, led to Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia and usurpation of the Khmer Rouge.

In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favor of his father in order to participate in politics and was elected prime minister. Upon his father's death in 1960, Sihanouk again became head of state, taking the title of prince. As the Vietnam War progressed, Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality in the Cold WarSony VAIO VPCF11C4E/B battery, although he was widely considered to be sympathetic to the communist cause. Sihanouk allowed the Vietnamese communists to use Cambodia as a sanctuary and a supply route for their arms and other aid to their armed forces fighting in South Vietnam. This policy was perceived as humiliating by many Cambodians. In December 1967 Washington Post journalist Stanley Karnow was told by Sihanouk that if the US wanted to bomb the Vietnamese communist sanctuariesSony VAIO PCG-31114M battery, he would not object, unless Cambodians were killed.[29] The same message was conveyed to US President Johnson's emissary Chester Bowles in January 1968.[30] So the US had no real motivation to overthrow Sihanouk. However members of the government and army, who resented Sihanouk's ruling style as well as his tilt away from the United States, did have such a motivationSony VAIO PCG-31113M battery. While visiting Beijing in 1970 Sihanouk was ousted by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak. There is no evidence of any US role in the coup. However once the coup was completed the new regime, which immediately demanded that the Vietnamese communists leave Cambodia, gained the political support of the United StatesSony VAIO PCG-31112M battery. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces, desperate to retain their sanctuaries and supply lines from North Vietnam, immediately launched armed attacks on the new government. The king urged his followers to help in overthrowing this government, hastening the onset of civil war,[31] Soon the Khmer Rouge rebels began using him to gain supportSony VAIO PCG-31111M battery. However from 1970 until early 1972 the Cambodian conflict was largely one between the government and army of Cambodia, and the armed forces of North Vietnam. As they gained control of Cambodian territory the Vietnamese communists imposed a new political infrastructure, which was eventually dominated by the Cambodian communists we now refer to as the Khmer RougeSony VAIO PCG-41112M battery. So the Vietnamese communists played a vital role in the rise of the Khmer Rouge.

Norodom Sihanouk and Mao Tse-Tung in 1956

Between 1969 and 1973, Republic of Vietnam forces and U.S. forces bombed and briefly invaded Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge.[33] Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and by the terrorist policies of the Khmer Rouge, and fled to Phnom PenhSony VAIO PCG-41111M battery. Estimates of the number of Cambodians killed during the bombing campaigns vary widely, as do views of the effects of the bombing. The U.S. Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city.[34] However, journalist William Shawcross and Cambodia specialists Milton Osborne, David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan argued that the bombing drove peasants to join the Khmer Rouge.SONY VAIO PCG-21212M battery Cambodia specialist Craig Etcheson argued that the Khmer Rouge "would have won anyway", even without U.S. intervention driving recruitment.[36] American diplomat Timothy M. Carney argued that the five reasons why Pol Pot won the war were: support from Sihanouk, massive supplies of military aid from North Vietnam, government corruption, the U.S. cut-off in air support after Watergate, and the determination of the Cambodian Communists. Not one of them in his opinion was the U.S. bombing. SONY VAIO PCG-21211M battery

Khmer Republic (1970-1975)

This section requires expansion. (July 2012)

Khmer Rouge regime

Main articles: Democratic Kampuchea and Khmer Rouge

As the Vietnam War ended, a draft USAID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75% of its draft animals destroyed, and that rice planting for the next harvest would have to be done "by the hard labour of seriously malnourished people". The report predicted that

"Without large-scale external food and equipment assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next FebruarySONY VAIO PCG-51212M battery ... Slave labour and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency".SONY VAIO PCG-51211M battery

Flag of the Khmer Rouge and Democratic Kampuchea

The Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in 1975. The regime, led by Pol Pot, changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea. The regime modelled itself on Maoist China during the Great Leap Forward. The regime immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projectsSONY VAIO PCG-51112M battery. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. At least a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease.[39]

Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three millionSONY VAIO PCG-51111M battery; the most commonly cited figure is two million (about one-third of the population).[40][41] This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing. Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighbouring Thailand. The regime disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated. SONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery

In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but by 1984, due to Khmer Rouge killings and to emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country.[43] Forced repatriation in 1970 and deaths during the Khmer Rouge era reduced the Vietnamese population in Cambodia from between 250,000 and 300,000 in 1969 to a reported 56,000 in 1984. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M battery However most of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime were not ethnic minorities but ethnic Khmer. Professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.

Vietnamese occupation and transition

Main article: Modern CambodiaSONY VAIO PCG-71111M battery

Choeung Ek

In November 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia in response to border raids by the Khmer Rouge.[44] The People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK), a Pro-Soviet state led by the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party, a party created by the Vietnamese in 1951, and led by a group of Khmer Rouge who had fled Cambodia to avoid being purged by Pol Pot and Ta MokSONY VAIO PCG-7196M battery, was established.[45] It was fully beholden to the occupying Vietnamese army and under direction of the Vietnamese ambassador to Phnom Penh. Its arms came from Vietnam and the Soviet Union. In opposition to the newly-created state, a government-in-exile referred to as the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) was formed in 1981 from three factionsSONY VAIO PCG-7195M battery. This consisted of the Khmer Rouge, a royalist faction led by Sihanouk, and the Khmer People's National Liberation Front. Its credentials were recognized by the United Nations. The Khmer Rouge representative to the UN, Thiounn Prasith, was retained, but he had to work in consultation with representatives of the noncommunist Cambodian parties. SONY VAIO PCG-7194M battery

Throughout the 1980s the CGDK, supplied by China, Thailand, the United States[48] and the United Kingdom controlled parts of the country and attacked some of the territory not under their dominance. The refusal of Vietnam to withdraw from Cambodia led to economic sanctions by the U.S. and its allies, made reconstruction virtually impossible and left the country deeply impoverishedSONY VAIO PCG-7192M battery.

Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989 under the State of Cambodia, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The UN was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire and deal with refugees and disarmament known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) SONY PCG-8113M battery.

In 1993, Norodom Sihanouk was restored as King of Cambodia, but all power was in the hands of the government established after the UNTAC sponsored elections. The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état led by the co-Prime Minister Hun Sen against the noncommunist parties in the government. SONY PCG-8112M battery] Many of the noncommunist politicians were murdered by Hun Sen's forces. In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and led to some political stability through political repression of a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy.[54] In July 2010 Kang Kek Iew was the first Khmer Rouge member found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as the former commandant of the S21 extermination campSONY PCG-7134M battery. He was sentenced to life in prison.[55][56] However Hun Sen has opposed any extensive trials of former Khmer Rouge mass murderers.[57] He says that this is because he wishes to avoid political instability. However it is more likely because of the prevalence of former Khmer Rouge at the highest levels of Cambodia's national and local government structures. SONY PCG-7131M battery

Politics

Main articles: Politics of Cambodia and List of political parties in Cambodia

Government

King Norodom Sihamoni

National politics in Cambodia take place within the framework of the nation's constitution of 1993. The government is a constitutional monarchy operated as a parliamentary representative democracy. The Prime Minister of Cambodia, an office held by Hun Sen since 1985, is the head of government, while the King of Cambodia (currently Norodom Sihamoni) is the head of stateSONY PCG-7122M battery . The prime minister is appointed by the king, on the advice and with the approval of the National Assembly

The prime minister and the ministerial appointees exercise executive power while legislative powers are shared by the executive and the bicameral Parliament of Cambodia, which consists of a lower house, the National Assembly or Radhsphea and an upper house, the Senate or SénatSONY PCG-7121M battery . Members of the 123-seat Assembly are elected through a system of proportional representation and serve for a maximum term of five years. The Senate has 58 seats, two of which are appointed by the king and two others by the National Assembly, and the rest elected by the commune councillors from 24 provinces of Cambodia. Senators serve five year termsSONY PCG-7113M battery.

On October 14, 2004, King Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member throne council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week prior. Sihamoni's selection was endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the king's half brother and current chief advisor), both members of the throne councilSONY PCG-7112M battery . He was enthroned in Phnom Penh on October 29, 2004.

The Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is the major ruling party in Cambodia. The CPP controls the lower and upper chambers of parliament, with 73 seats in the National Assembly and 43 seats in the Senate. The opposition Sam Rainsy Party is the second largest party in Cambodia with 26 seats in the National Assembly and 2 in the SenateSONY PCG-8Z3M battery .

Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Hun Sen and his government have seen much controversy. Hun Sen was a former Khmer Rouge commander who was originally installed by the Vietnamese and, after the Vietnamese left the country, maintains his strong man position by violence and oppression when deemed necessary.[58] In 1997, fearing the growing power of his co-Prime Minister, Prince Norodom RanariddhSONY PCG-8Z2M battery, Hun launched a coup, using the army to purge Ranariddh and his supporters. Ranariddh was ousted and fled to Paris while other opponents of Hun Sen were arrested, tortured and some summarily executed.

In addition to political oppression, the Cambodian government has been accused of corruption in the sale of vast areas of land to foreign investors resulting in the eviction of thousands of villagersSONY PCG-8Z1M battery as well as taking bribes in exchange for grants to exploit Cambodia's oil wealth and mineral resources.[61] Cambodia is consistently listed as one of the most corrupt governments in the world.

Military

Main article: Royal Cambodian Armed Forces

Royal Cambodian Navy officers observe flight quarters during the Cambodia-US Maritime Exercise 2011SONY PCG-8Y3M battery .

The Royal Cambodian Army, Royal Cambodian Navy, Royal Cambodian Air Force and Royal Gendarmerie collectively form the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, under the command of the Ministry of National Defense, presided over by the Prime Minister of Cambodia. His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) SONY PCG-8Y2M battery, and the country's Prime Minister Hun Sen effectively holds the position of commander-in-chief.

The introduction of a revised command structure early in 2000 was a key prelude to the reorganization of the Cambodian military. This saw the defence ministry form three subordinate general departments responsible for logistics and finance, materials and technical services, and defence services under the High Command Headquarters (HCHQ) SONY PCG-7Z1M battery.

The minister of National Defense is General Tea Banh. Banh has served as defense minister since 1979. The Secretaries of State for Defense are Chay Saing Yun and Por Bun Sreu. The new Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF and was replaced by his deputy General Pol Saroeun, who is a long time loyalist of Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Army Commander is General Meas Sophea and the Army Chief of Staff is Chea SaranSONY PCG-6W2M battery.

In 2010, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces comprised about 210,000 personnel. Total Cambodian military spending stands at 3% of national GDP. The Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia total more than 7,000 personnel. Its civil duties include providing security and public peace, to investigate and prevent organized crime, terrorism and other violent groupsSONY PCG-5J5M battery; to protect state and private property; to help and assist civilians and other emergency forces in a case of emergency, natural disaster, civil unrest and armed conflicts.

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Cambodia

Ambassador Thay Vanna presents his credentials to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on October 18, 2010.

Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York City in 2009SONY PCG-5K2M battery.

The foreign relations of Cambodia are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under H.E. Hor Namhong.

Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is a member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), ASEAN, and joined the WTO on October 13, 2004. In 2005 Cambodia attended the inaugural East Asia Summit in MalaysiaSONY PCG-5K1M battery. On November 23, 2009, Cambodia reinstated its membership to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).[65] Cambodia first became a member of IAEA on February 6, 1958 but withdrew its membership on March 26, 2003.[66] Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with numerous countries; the government reports twenty embassies in the countrySONY PCG-5J4M battery including many of its Asian neighbours and those of important players during the Paris peace negotiations, including the US, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), Japan, and Russia.[68] As a result of its international relations, various charitable organizations have assisted with social, economic, and civil infrastructure needsSONY PCG-5J1M battery.

In recent years, bilateral relations between the United States and Cambodia have strengthened. The U.S. supports efforts in Cambodia to combat terrorism, build democratic institutions, promote human rights, foster economic development, eliminate corruption, achieve the fullest possible accounting for Americans missing from the Vietnam War-eraSONY PCG-5G2M battery , and to bring to justice those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. China's geopolitical interest in Cambodia changed significantly with the end of the Cold War. It retains considerable influence, including close links with former King Norodom Sihanouk, senior members of Cambodian GovernmentSony VAIO PCG-8131M battery, and the ethnic Chinese community in Cambodia. There are regular high level exchanges between the two countries. Japan has been a vital contributor to Cambodia’s rehabilitation and reconstruction since the high-profile UN Transitional Authority (UNTAC) mission and elections in 1993. Japan provided some US$1.2 billion in total overseas development assistance (ODA) during the period since 1992 and remains Cambodia’s top donor countrySony VAIO PCG-8152M battery.

While the violent ruptures of the 1970s and 80s have passed, several border disputes between Cambodia and its neighbors persist. There are disagreements over some offshore islands and sections of the boundary with Vietnam and undefined maritime boundaries and border areas with Thailand. Both Cambodian and Thai troops have clashed over land immediately adjacent to the Preah Vihear templeSony VAIO PCG-31311M battery, leading to a deterioration in relations. The International Court of Justice in 1962 awarded the temple to Cambodia but was unclear regarding some of the surrounding land. Both countries blamed the other for firing first and denied entering the other's territory.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Cambodia

Phnom Dângrêk in Northern CambodiaSony VAIO PCG-31111M battery

Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi) and lies entirely within the tropics, between latitudes 10° and 15°N, and longitudes 102° and 108°E. It borders Thailand to the north and west, Laos to the northeast, and Vietnam to the east and southeast. It has a 443-kilometer (275 mi) coastline along the Gulf of ThailandSony VAIO PCG-8112M battery.

Cambodia’s landscape is characterized by a low-lying central plain that is surrounded by uplands and low mountains and includes the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the upper reaches of the Mekong River delta. Extending outward from this central region are transitional plains, thinly forested and rising to elevations of about 650 feet (200 meters) above sea levelSony VAIO PCG-7186M battery. To the north the Cambodian plain abuts a sandstone escarpment, which forms a southward-facing cliff stretching more than 200 miles (320 km) from west to east and rising abruptly above the plain to heights of 600 to 1,800 feet (180 to 550 meters). This escarpment marks the southern limit of the Dângrêk MountainsSony VAIO PCG-7171M battery.

Flowing south through the country’s eastern regions is the Mekong River. East of the Mekong the transitional plains gradually merge with the eastern highlands, a region of forested mountains and high plateaus that extend into Laos and Vietnam. In southwestern Cambodia two distinct upland blocks, the Krâvanh Mountains and the Dâmrei Mountains, form another highland region that covers much of the land area between the Tonle Sap and the Gulf of ThailandSony VAIO PCG-9Z1M battery. In this remote and largely uninhabited area, Phnom Aural, Cambodia’s highest peak, rises to an elevation of 5,949 feet (1,813 meters). The southern coastal region adjoining the Gulf of Thailand is a narrow lowland strip, heavily wooded and sparsely populated, which is isolated from the central plain by the southwestern highlandsSony VAIO PCG-5S1M battery.

The most distinctive geographical feature is the inundations of the Tonle Sap (Great Lake), measuring about 2,590 square kilometers (1,000 sq mi) during the dry season and expanding to about 24,605 square kilometers (9,500 sq mi) during the rainy season. This densely populated plain, which is devoted to wet rice cultivation, is the heartland of Cambodia. Much of this area has been designated as a biosphere reserveSony VAIO PCG-5P1M battery.

Climate

Main article: Climate of Cambodia

Sun Bear

Cambodia's climate, like that of the rest of Southeast Asia, is dominated by monsoons, which are known as tropical wet and dry because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences.

Cambodia has a temperature range from 21 to 35 °C (69.8 to 95 °F) and experiences tropical monsoons. Southwest monsoons blow inland bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and Indian Ocean from May to OctoberSony VAIO PCG-5N2M battery. The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The country experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period occurring from January to February.

Cambodia has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can see temperatures drop to 22 °C (71.6 °F) Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M battery and is generally accompanied with high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April when temperatures can rise up to 40 °C (104 °F) around April. Disastrous flooding occurred in 2001 and again in 2002, with some degree of flooding almost every year.

Wildlife

Main article: Wildlife of Cambodia

Sarus Crane

Cambodia has a wide variety of plants and animals. There are 212 mammal species, 536 bird species, 240 reptile species, 850 freshwater fish species (Tonle Sap Lake area) Sony VAIO PCG-8161M battery, and 435 marine fish species. Much of this biodiversity is contained around the Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding biosphere.[69] The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is a unique ecological phenomenon surrounding the Tonle Sap. It encompasses the lake and nine provinces: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey, PailinSony VAIO PCG-8141M battery, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear. In 1997, it was successfully nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.[70] Other key habitats include the dry forest of Mondolkiri and Ratanakiri provinces and the Cardamom Mountains ecosystem, including Bokor National Park, Botum-Sakor National Park, and the Phnom Aural and Phnom Samkos wildlife sanctuariesSony VAIO PCG-3J1M battery.

The rate of deforestation in Cambodia is one of the highest in the world. Cambodia's primary rainforest cover fell from over 70% in 1969 to just 3.1% in 2007. In total, Cambodia lost 25,000 square kilometres (9,700 sq mi) of forest between 1990 and 2005—3,340 km2 (1,290 sq mi) of which was primary forest. Since 2007, less than 3,220 km2 (1,243 sq mi) Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M battery of primary forest remain with the result that the future sustainability of the forest reserves of Cambodia is under severe threat, with illegal loggers looking to generate revenue.

[edit]Administrative divisions

Main article: Administrative divisions of Cambodia

The capital (reach thani) and provinces (khaet) of Cambodia are first-level administrative divisions. Cambodia is divided into 24 provinces including the capital.

Municipalities and districts are the second-level administrative divisions of Cambodia. The provinces are subdivided into 159 districts and 26 municipalitiesSony VAIO PCG-3F1M battery. The districts and municipalities in turn are further divided into communes (khum) and quarters (sangkat).

Economy

Main articles: Economy of Cambodia and Cambodia Securities Exchange

OCIC Tower, in Phnom Penh, temporary headquarters of the Cambodia Securities Exchange.

In 2011 Cambodia's per capita income in PPP is $2,470 and $1,040 in nominal per capita. Cambodia's per capita income is rapidly increasing but is low compared to other countries in the region. Most rural households depend on agriculture and its related sub-sectors
Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M battery
. Rice, fish, timber, garments and rubber are Cambodia's major exports. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reintroduced more than 750 traditional rice varieties to Cambodia from its rice seed bank in the Philippines.[72] These varieties had been collected in the 1960s.

Based on the Economist, IMF: Annual average GDP growth for the period 2001–2010 was 7.7% making it one of the world's top ten countries with the highest annual average GDP growthSony VAIO PCG-9Z2L battery. Tourism was Cambodia's fastest growing industry, with arrivals increasing from 219,000 in 1997 to 2 million in 2007. In 2004, inflation was at 1.7% and exports at $1.6 billion US$.

China is Cambodia's biggest source of foreign direct investment. China planned to spend $8 billion in 360 projects in the first seven months of 2011. It is also the largest source of foreign aid, providing about $600 million in 2007 and $260 million in 2008Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery.

The National Bank of Cambodia is the central bank of the kingdom and provides regulatory oversight to the country's banking sector and is responsible in part for increasing the foreign direct investment in the country. Between 2010 and 2012 the number of regulated banks and micro-finance institutions increased from 31 covered entities to over 70 individual institutions underlining the growth within the Cambodian banking and finance sectorSony VAIO PCG-9131L battery.

In 2012 Credit Bureau Cambodia was established with direct regulatory oversight by the National Bank of Cambodia.[73] The Credit Bureau further increases the transparency and stability within the Cambodian Banking Sector as all banks and micro-finance companies are now required by law to report accurate facts and figures relating to loan performance in the countrySony VAIO PCG-8161L battery.

One of the largest challenges facing Cambodia is still the fact that the older population often lacks education, particularly in the countryside, which suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure. Fear of renewed political instability and corruption within the government discourage foreign investment and delay foreign aidSony VAIO PCG-8152L battery, although there has been significant aid from bilateral and multilateral donors. Donors pledged $504 million to the country in 2004,[74] while the Asian Development Bank alone has provided $850 million in loans, grants, and technical assistance.[75]

Tourism

Rice field in Baray, Kampong Thom

The tourism industry is the country's second-greatest source of hard currency after the textile industry.[52] Between January and December 2007, visitor arrivals were 2.0 million, an increase of 18.5% over the same period in 2006Sony VAIO PCG-8141L battery. Most visitors (51%) arrived through Siem Reap with the remainder (49%) through Phnom Penh and other destinations.[76] Other tourist destinations include Sihanoukville in the south east which has several popular beach resorts and the area around Kampot and Kep including the Bokor Hill Station. Tourism has increased steadily each year in the relatively stable period since the 1993 UNTAC electionsSony VAIO PCG-8131L battery; in 1993 there were 118,183 international tourists, and in 2009 there were 2,161,577 international tourists.[77]

Most of the tourists were Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Americans, South Koreans and French people, said the report, adding that the industry earned some 1,400 million U.S. dollars in 2007, accounting for almost ten percent of the kingdom's gross national products. Sony VAIO PCG-81312L battery Chinese-language newspaper Jianhua Daily quoted industry official as saying that Cambodia will have three million foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 and five million in 2015. Tourism has been one of Cambodia's triple pillar industries. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reap province, the beaches in Sihanoukville and the capital city Phnom Penh are the main attractions for foreign touristsSony VAIO PCG-81214L battery.

Demographics

Main articles: Demographics of Cambodia, Ethnic groups in Cambodia, and Religion in Cambodia

As of 2010, Cambodia has an estimated population of 14,805,358 people. Ninety percent of Cambodia's population is of Khmer origin and speak the Khmer language, the country's official language. Cambodia's population is relatively homogeneousSony VAIO PCG-81115L battery. Its minority groups include Vietnamese (2,200,000), Chinese (1,180,000), Cham (317,000), and Khmer Loeu (550,000).[80][not in citation given] The country's birth rate is 25.4 per 1,000. Its population growth rate is 1.70%, significantly higher than those of Thailand, South Korea, and India.Sony VAIO PCG-81114L battery

The Khmer language is a member of the Mon–Khmer subfamily of the Austroasiatic language group. French, once the language of government in Indochina, is still spoken by many older Cambodians. French is also the language of instruction in some schools and universities that are funded by the government of France. Cambodian French, a remnant of the country's colonial pastSony VAIO PCG-81113L battery, is a dialect found in Cambodia and is sometimes used in government, particularly in court.[82]

In recent decades, many younger Cambodians and those in the business-class have favoured learning English. In the major cities and tourist centers, English is widely spoken and taught at a large number of schools because of the overwhelming number of tourists from English-speaking countries. Even in the most rural outposts, most young people speak at least some EnglishSony VAIO PCG-7142L battery, as it is often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are educated.

The civil war and its aftermath have markedly affected the Cambodian population; 50% of the population is younger than 22 years old. At a 1.04 female to male ratio, Cambodia has the most female-biased sex ratio in the Greater Mekong Subregion.[83] In the Cambodian population over 65, the female to male ratio is 1.6:1Sony VAIO PCG-7141L battery.

Religion

Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia.

Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia, which is practiced by more than 95 percent of the population. The Theravada Buddhist tradition is widespread and strong in all provinces, with an estimated 4,392 monastery temples throughout the country.[84] The vast majority of ethnic Khmers are Buddhist, and there are close associations between BuddhismSony VAIO PCG-71111L battery, cultural traditions, and daily life. Adherence to Buddhism generally is considered intrinsic to the country's ethnic and cultural identity. Religion in Cambodia, including Buddhism, was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge during the late 1970s but has since experienced a revival.

Islam is the religion of the majority of the Chams and Malay minorities in Cambodia. The majority of Muslims are Sunnis of the Shafi'i school and are highly populated in Kampong Cham Province. Currently there are more than 300,000 Muslims in the countrySony VAIO PCG-61411L battery.

One percent of Cambodians are identified as being Christian, of which Catholics make up the largest group followed by Protestants. There are currently 20,000 Catholics in Cambodia which represents 0.15% of the total population. Other Christian denominations include Baptists, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Apostolic or United Pentecostals, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sony VAIO PCG-61112L battery

Mahayana Buddhism is the religion of the majority of Chinese and Vietnamese in Cambodia. Elements of other religious practices, such as the veneration of folk heroes and ancestors, Confucianism, and Taoism mix with Chinese Buddhism are also practiced.

Education

Main article: Education in CambodiaSony VAIO PCG-61111L battery

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is responsible for establishing national policies and guidelines for education in Cambodia. The Cambodian education system is heavily decentralised, with three levels of government, central, provincial and district – responsible for its management. The constitution of Cambodia promulgates free compulsory education for nine years, guaranteeing the universal right to basic quality educationSony VAIO PCG-5T4L battery.

In 2004 it was estimated that 73.6% of the population was literate (84.7% of males and 64.1% of females).[86] Male youth age (15–24 years) have a literacy rate of 89% compared to 86% for females.[87]

The education system in Cambodia continues to face many challenges, but during the past years there have been significant improvements, especially in terms of primary net enrollment gainsSony VAIO PCG-5T3L battery, the introduction of program based-budgeting, and the development of a policy framework which helps disadvantaged children to gain access to education.[88] Many of Cambodia's most acclaimed universities are based in Phnom Penh.

Traditionally, education in Cambodia was offered by the wats (Buddhist temples), thus providing education exclusively for the male population[89] During the Khmer Rouge regime, education suffered significant setbacksSony VAIO PCG-5T2L battery.

[edit]Health

Main article: Health in Cambodia

The quality of health in Cambodia is rising. As of 2010, the life expectancy is 60 years for males and 65 years for females, a major improvement since 1999 when the average life expectancy was 49.8 and 46.8 respectively.[90] Health care is offered by both public and private practitioners and research has found that trust in health providers is a key factor in improving the uptake of health care services in rural Cambodia. Sony VAIO PCG-5S3L batteryThe Royal Cambodian Government plans to increase the quality of healthcare in the country by raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Government spending on health care corresponded to 5.8% of Cambodia's gross domestic product (GDP).

Cambodia's infant mortality rate has decreased from 115 per 1,000 live births in 1993 to 54 in 2009. In the same period, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 181 to 115 per 1,000 live births. Sony VAIO PCG-5S2L battery In the province with worst health indicators, Ratanakiri, 22.9% of children die before age five.[93]

UNICEF has designated Cambodia the third most landmined country in the world,[94] attributing over 60,000 civilian deaths and thousands more maimed or injured since 1970 because of the unexploded land mines left behind in rural areas.[95] The majority of the victims are children herding animals or playing in the fields. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1L battery Adults that survive landmines often require amputation of one or more limbs and have to resort to begging for survival.[95] However, the number of landmine casualties has sharply decreased, from 800 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2006 and 208 in 2007 (38 killed and 170 injured).[96]

Culture

Main articles: Culture of Cambodia and Sport in Cambodia

The 19th century illustration tale of Vorvong & SorvongSony VAIO PCG-5R2L battery.

Various factors contribute to the Cambodian culture including Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, French colonialism, Angkorian culture, and modern globalization. The Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is responsible for promoting and developing Cambodian culture. Cambodian culture not only includes the culture of the lowland ethnic majoritySony VAIO PCG-5R1L battery, but also some 20 culturally distinct hill tribes colloquially known as the Khmer Loeu, a term coined by Norodom Sihanouk to encourage unity between the highlanders and lowlanders. Rural Cambodians wear a krama scarf which is a unique aspect of Cambodian clothing. The sampeah is a traditional Cambodian greeting or a way of showing respect to others. Khmer cultureSony VAIO PCG-5P4L battery, as developed and spread by the Khmer empire, has distinctive styles of dance, architecture and sculpture, which have been exchanged with neighbouring Laos and Thailand throughout history. Angkor Wat (Angkor means "

city" and Wat "temple") is the best preserved example of Khmer architecture from the Angkorian era along with hundreds of other temples that have been discovered in and around the regionSony VAIO PCG-5P2L battery.

Traditionally, the Khmer people have a unique method of recording information on Tra leaves. Tra leaf books record legends of the Khmer people, the Ramayana, the origin of Buddhism and other prayer book series. They are greatly taken care of and wrapped in cloth to protect from moisture and the climateSony VAIO PCG-5N4L battery.

Bon Om Teuk (Festival of Boat Racing), the annual boat rowing contest, is the most attended Cambodian national festival. Held at the end of the rainy season when the Mekong river begins to sink back to its normal levels allowing the Tonle Sap River to reverse flow, approximately 10% of Cambodia's population attends this event each year to play games, give thanks to the moon, watch fireworks, dine, and attend the boat race in a carnival-type atmosphere. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2L battery Popular games include cockfighting, soccer, and kicking a sey, which is similar to a footbag. Based on the classical Indian solar calendar and Theravada Buddhism, the Cambodian New Year is a major holiday that takes place in April. Recent artistic figures include singers Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea (and later Meng Keo Pichenda), who introduced new musical styles to the countrySony VAIO PCG-51513L battery.

[edit]Cuisine

Main article: Cuisine of Cambodia

Amok, a popular Khmer dish

Rice is the staple grain, as in other Southeast Asian countries. Fish from the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers is also an important part of the diet. The supply of fish and fish products for food and trade in 2000 was 20 kilograms per person or 2 ounces per day per person.[99] Some of the fish can be made into prahok for longer storageSony VAIO PCG-51511L battery. The cuisine of Cambodia contains tropical fruits, soups and noodles. Key ingredients are kaffir lime, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry, tamarind, ginger, oyster sauce, coconut milk and black pepper. Some delicacies are(នំបញ្ចុក) (Num Bunhjok), (អាមុក) (Amok), (អាពីង) (Ah Ping).

French influence on Cambodian cuisine includes the Cambodian red curry with toasted baguette bread. The toasted baguette pieces are dipped in the curry and eatenSony VAIO PCG-51412L battery. Cambodian red curry is also eaten with rice and rice vermicelli noodles. Probably the most popular dine out dish, ka tieu, is a pork broth rice noodle soup with fried garlic, scallions, green onions that may also contain various toppings such as beef balls, shrimp, pork liver or lettuce. The cuisine is relatively unknown to the world compared to that of its neighbours Thailand and VietnamSony VAIO PCG-51411L battery.

[edit]Sports

Football is one of the more popular sports, although professional organized sports are not as prevalent in Cambodia as in western countries because of the economic conditions. Football was brought to Cambodia by the French and became popular with the locals.[100] The Cambodia national football team managed fourth in the 1972 Asian CupSony VAIO PCG-51312L battery, but development has slowed since the civil war. Western sports such as volleyball, bodybuilding, field hockey, rugby union, golf, and baseball are gaining popularity. Native sports include traditional boat racing,buffalo racing, Pradal Serey, Khmer traditional wrestling and Bokator. Cambodia first participated in the Olympics during the 1956 Summer Olympic Games sending equestrian ridersSony VAIO PCG-51311L battery. Cambodia also hosted the GANEFO Games, the alternative to the Olympics, in the 1960s.

Khmer Apsara dancers.

Dance

Main article: Dance in Cambodia

Cambodian dance can be divided into three main categories: Khmer classical dance, folk dance, and social dances. The exact origins of Khmer classical dance are disputed. Most native Khmer scholars trace modern dance forms back to the time of Angkor, seeing similarities in the temple engravings of the period, while others hold that modern Khmer dance styles were learned Sony VAIO PCG-51211L battery (or re-learned) from Siamese court dancers in the 1800s.

Khmer classical dance is the form of stylized performance art established in the royal courts of Cambodia exhibited for both entertainment and ceremonial purposes.[101] The dances are performed by intricately costumed, highly trained men and women on public occasions for tribute, invocation or to enact traditional stories and epic poems such as Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. Sony VAIO PCG-41112L battery Known formally as Robam Preah Reach Trop (របាំព្រះរាជទ្រព្យ "theater of royal wealth") it is set to the music of a pinpeat ensemble accompanied by a vocal chorus.

Cambodian folk dance, often performed to mahori music, celebrates the various cultural and ethnic groups of Cambodia. Folk dances originated in the villages and are performed, for the most part, by the villagers for the villagers. Sony VAIO PCG-3A4L battery The movements are less stylized and the clothing worn is that of the people the dancers are portraying, such as hill tribes, Chams or farmers. Typically more fast-paced than classical dance, folk dances display themes of the "common person" such as love, comedy or warding off evil spirits.[103]

Social dances are those performed by guests at banquetsSony VAIO PCG-3A3L battery, parties or other informal social gatherings. Khmer traditional social dances are analogous to those of other Southeast Asian nations. Examples include the circle dances Romvong and Romkbach as well as Saravan and Lam Leav. Modern western popular dances including Cha-cha, Bolero, and the Madison, have also influenced Cambodian social danceSony VAIO PCG-3A2L battery.

Sinn Sisamouth

Music

Main article: Music of Cambodia

Traditional Cambodian music dates back as far as the Khmer Empire.[104] Royal dances like the Apsara Dance are icons of the Cambodian culture as are the Mahori ensembles that accompany them. More rural forms of music include Chapei and A Yai. The former is popular among the older generation and is most often a solo performance of a man plucking a Cambodian guitar (chapei) in between a cappella versesSony VAIO PCG-3A1L battery. The lyrics usually have moral or religious theme. A Yai can be performed solo or by a man and woman and is often comedic in nature. It is a form of lyrical poetry, often full of double entendres, that can be either scripted or completely impromptu and ad-libbed. When sung by a duo, the man and women take turns, "answering" the other's verse or posing riddles for the other to solveSony VAIO PCG-394L battery, with short instrumental breaks in between verses. Pleng kar (lit. "wedding music") is a set of traditional music and songs played both for entertainment and as accompaniment for the various ceremonial parts of a traditional, days-long Khmer wedding.

Cambodian popular music is performed with western style instruments or mixture of traditional and western instrumentsSony VAIO PCG-393L battery. Dance music is composed in particular styles for social dances. The music of crooner Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea from the 1960s to the 1970s is considered to be the classic pop music of Cambodia. During the Khmer Rouge Revolution many classic and popular singers of the 60s and 70s died of execution, starvation, or overwork[citation needed] and many original master tapes from the period were lost or destroyedSony VAIO PCG-391L battery.

In the 1980s, Keo Surath, (a refugee resettled in the United States) and others carried on the legacy of the classic singers, often remaking their popular songs. The 80s and 90s also saw the rise in popularity of kantrum, a music style of the Khmer Surin set to modern instrumentationSony VAIO PCG-384L battery.

Internet

Painting of Preah Vesondor and his family abandoned in the jungle.

As Cambodia continues to grow, so does its connection to the world. There are numerous places where internet access is available for public use, such as coffee shops, bars, restaurants and petrol stations. USB modems and internet capabilities on cell phones now allow many Cambodians to connect with the outside worldSony VAIO PCG-383L battery.

Internet service in metropolitan areas is less expensive than in rural area. Basic service with 3 Mb/s speed costs $12 per month plus the price of modem rental.[106]. Installation and delivery fees in rural area may add to the cost. Recent improvements to internet connection technology have resulted in lower pricesSony VAIO PCG-382L battery.

Improved internet access has created demand for more websites focused on Cambodia. Because of the literacy rate in Cambodia, the issue arises of whether Cambodia-focused sites need to be in English or Khmer. English is the predominant language of the internet, and the majority of internet users in Cambodia are able to understand English, but with the use of Khmer Unicode more sites have the capability to provide Khmer language versionsSony VAIO PCG-381L battery.

Transport

Main article: Transport in Cambodia

National Highway 4

Siem Reap International Airport

The civil war and neglect severely damaged Cambodia's transport system, but with assistance and equipment from other countries Cambodia has been upgrading the main highways to international standards and most are vastly improved from 2006. Most main roads are now pavedSony VAIO PCG-7185L battery.

Cambodia has two rail lines, totalling about 612 kilometers (380 mi) of single, one meter gauge track.[107] The lines run from the capital to Sihanoukville on the southern coast, and from Phnom Penh to Sisophon (although trains often run only as far as Battambang). As of 1987, only one passenger train per week operated between Phnom Penh and Battambang but a $141 million projectSony VAIO PCG-7184L battery, funded mostly by the Asian Development Bank, has been started to revitalize the languishing rail system that will "(interlink) Cambodia with major industrial and logistics centers in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City".[107]

Besides the main interprovincial traffic artery connecting Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville, resurfacing a former dirt road with concrete / Sony VAIO PCG-7183L batteryasphalt and implementation of 5 major river crossings by means of bridges have now permanently connected Phnom Penh with Koh Kong, and hence there is now uninterrupted road access to neighboring Thailand and their vast road system.

Cambodia's road traffic accident rate is high by world standards. In 2004, the number of road fatalities per 10,000 vehicles was ten times higher in Cambodia than in the developed world, and the number of road deaths had doubled in the preceding three years. Sony VAIO PCG-7182L battery

A Cambodia Angkor Air Airbus A321.

The nation's extensive inland waterways were important historically in international trade. The Mekong and the Tonle Sap River, their numerous tributaries, and the Tonle Sap provided avenues of considerable length, including 3,700 kilometers (2,300 mi) navigable all year by craft drawing 0.6 meters (2 ft) and another 282 kilometers (175 mi) navigable to craft drawing 1.8 metersSony VAIO PCG-7181L battery (6 ft).[109] Cambodia has two major ports, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and five minor ones. Phnom Penh, located at the junction of the Bassac, the Mekong, and the Tonle Sap rivers, is the only river port capable of receiving 8,000-ton ships during the wet season and 5,000-ton ships during the dry season. With increasing economic activity has come an increase in automobile and motorcycle useSony VAIO PCG-7174L battery, though bicycles still predominate.[110] "Cyclo" (as hand-me-down French) or Cycle rickshaws are an additional option often used by visitors. These kind of rickshaws are unique to Cambodia in that the cyclist is situated behind the passenger(s) seat,[111] as opposed to Cycle rickshaws in neighbouring countries where the cyclist is at the front and "pulls" the carriageSony VAIO PCG-7173L battery.

The country has four commercial airports. Phnom Penh International Airport (Pochentong) in Phnom Penh is the second largest in Cambodia. Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport is the largest and serves the most international flights in and out of Cambodia. The other airports are in Sihanoukville and BattambangSony VAIO PCG-7172L battery.

Angkor Wat (Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត) is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. The temple was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura (Khmer: យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kingsSony VAIO PCG-7171L battery, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia,[1] appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitorsSony VAIO PCG-7162L battery.

Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleriesSony VAIO PCG-7161L battery, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its wallsSony VAIO PCG-7154L battery.

The modern name, Angkor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer; Angkor, meaning "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular form of the word nokor (នគរ), which comes from the Sanskrit word nagar (नगर).[2] Wat is the Khmer word for "temple grounds", derived from the Pali word "vatta" (वत्त).[3] Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the posthumous title of its founder. Sony VAIO PCG-7153L battery

Angkor Wat (Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត) is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. The temple was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura (Khmer: យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kingsSony VAIO PCG-7152L battery, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia,[1] appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitorsSony VAIO PCG-7151L battery.

Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries
Sony VAIO PCG-7148L battery
, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its wallsSony VPCW21M2E/WI battery.

The modern name, Angkor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer; Angkor, meaning "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular form of the word nokor (នគរ), which comes from the Sanskrit word nagar (नगर).[2] Wat is the Khmer word for "temple grounds", derived from the Pali word "vatta" (वत्त).[3] Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok (Vara Vishnuloka in Sanskrit), after the posthumous title of its founderSony VPCW21C7E battery.

History

King Suryavarman II, the builder of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat lies 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) north of the modern town of Siem Reap, and a short distance south and slightly east of the previous capital, which was centred at Baphuon. It is in an area of Cambodia where there is an important group of ancient structures. It is the southernmost of Angkor's main sitesSony VPCW12S1E/WZ battery.

The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113 – c. 1150). Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built as the king's state temple and capital city. As neither the foundation stela nor any contemporary inscriptions referring to the temple have been found, its original name is unknownSony VPCW12S1E/W battery, but it may have been known as Vrah Vishnu-lok ( literally "Holy Vishnu'-Location'", Old Khmer' Cl. Sanskrit). after the presiding deity. Work seems to have ended shortly after the king's death, leaving some of the bas-relief decoration unfinished.[5] In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. Sony VPCW12S1E/T batteryThereafter the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple (Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few kilometres to the north.

In the late 13th century, Angkor Wat gradually moved from Hindu to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the present day. Angkor Wat is unusual among the Angkor temples in that although it was somewhat neglected after the 16th century it was never completely abandonedSony VPCW12S1E/P battery, its preservation being due in part to the fact that its moat also provided some protection from encroachment by the jungle.[6]

One of the first Western visitors to the temple was António da Madalena, a Portuguese monk who visited in 1586 and said that it "is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of." Sony VPCW11S1E/W batteryIn the mid 19th century the temple was visited by the French naturalist and explorer, Henri Mouhot, who popularised the site in the West through the publication of travel notes, in which he wrote:

"One of these temples—a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some ancient Michelangelo—might take an honourable place beside our most beautiful buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged." Sony VPCW11S1E/T battery

Mouhot, like other early Western visitors, found it difficult to believe that the Khmers could have built the temple, and mistakenly dated it to around the same era as Rome. The true history of Angkor Wat was pieced together only from stylistic and epigraphic evidence accumulated during the subsequent clearing and restoration work carried out across the whole Angkor siteSony VPCW11S1E/P battery. There were no ordinary dwellings or houses or other signs of settlement including cooking utensils, weapons, or items of clothing usually found at ancient sites. Instead there is the evidence of the monuments themselves.[9]

Facade of Angkor Wat, a drawing by Henri Mouhot

French postcard about Angkor Wat in 1911

Angkor Wat required considerable restoration in the 20th century, mainly the removal of accumulated earth and vegetation.[10] Work was interrupted by the civil war and Khmer Rouge control of the country during the 1970s and 1980s, but relatively little damage was done during this period other than the theft and destruction of mostly post-Angkorian statues. Sony VPCYA1S1E/B battery

The temple is a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great national pride that has factored into Cambodia's diplomatic relations with France, the United States and its neighbour Thailand. A depiction of Angkor Wat has been a part of Cambodian national flags since the introduction of the first version circa 1863. Sony VPCYA1V9E/B batteryFrom a larger historical and even transcultural perspective, however, the temple of Angkor Wat did not became a symbol of national pride sui generis but had been inscribed into a larger politico-cultural process of French-colonial heritage production in which the original temple site was presented in French colonial and universal exhibitions in Paris and Marseille between 1889 and 1937. Sony VPCY21S1E/SI battery

The splendid artistic legacy of Angkor Wat and other Khmer monuments in the Angkor region led directly to France adopting Cambodia as a protectorate on 11 August 1863 and invading Siam to take control of the ruins. This quickly led to Cambodia reclaiming lands in the northwestern corner of the country that had been under Siamese (Thai) control since 1351 AD (Manich Jumsai 2001), or by some accounts, 1431 AD. Sony VPCY21S1E/L battery Cambodia gained independence from France on 9 November 1953 and has controlled Angkor Wat since that time.

During the midst of the Vietnam War, Chief of State Norodom Sihanouk hosted Jacqueline Kennedy in Cambodia to fulfill her "lifelong dream of seeing Angkor Wat."

In January 2003 riots erupted in Phnom Penh when a false rumour circulated that a Thai soap opera actress had claimed that Angkor Wat belonged to ThailandSony VPCY21S1E/G battery.

Architecture

Site and plan

General plan of Angkor Wat with central structure in the middle

Detailed plan of the central structure

Angkor Wat, located at 13°24′45″N 103°52′0″E, is a unique combination of the temple mountain, the standard design for the empire's state temples, the later plan of concentric galleries, and influences from Orissa and the Chola of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is a representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods: the central quincunx of towers symbolises the five peaks of the mountainSony VPCY11S1E/S battery, and the walls and moat the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean.[17] Access to the upper areas of the temple was progressively more exclusive, with the laity being admitted only to the lowest level.[18]

Unlike most Khmer temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west rather than the east. This has led many (including Glaize and George Coedès) to conclude that Suryavarman intended it to serve as his funerary temple. Sony VPCY11S1E batteryFurther evidence for this view is provided by the bas-reliefs, which proceed in a counter-clockwise direction—prasavya in Hindu terminology—as this is the reverse of the normal order. Rituals take place in reverse order during Brahminic funeral services.[10] The archaeologist Charles Higham also describes a container which may have been a funerary jar which was recovered from the central tower. Sony VPCZ11X9E/B batteryIt has been nominated by some as the greatest expenditure of energy on the disposal of a corpse.[21] Freeman and Jacques, however, note that several other temples of Angkor depart from the typical eastern orientation, and suggest that Angkor Wat's alignment was due to its dedication to Vishnu, who was associated with the west.

A further interpretation of Angkor Wat has been proposed by Eleanor Mannikka. Drawing on the temple's alignment and dimensions, and on the content and arrangement of the bas-reliefs, she argues that the structure represents a claimed new era of peace under King Suryavarman IISony VPCZ11Z9E/B battery: "as the measurements of solar and lunar time cycles were built into the sacred space of Angkor Wat, this divine mandate to rule was anchored to consecrated chambers and corridors meant to perpetuate the king's power and to honor and placate the deities manifest in the heavens above." Mannikka's suggestions have been received with a mixture of interest and scepticism in academic circlesSony VPCZ12M9E/B battery. She distances herself from the speculations of others, such as Graham Hancock, that Angkor Wat is part of a representation of the constellation Draco.[24]

Style

Upper gallery at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the prime example of the classical style of Khmer architecture—the Angkor Wat style—to which it has given its name. By the 12th century Khmer architects had become skilled and confident in the use of sandstone (rather than brick or laterite) as the main building materialSony VPCZ12X9E/X battery. Most of the visible areas are of sandstone blocks, while laterite was used for the outer wall and for hidden structural parts. The binding agent used to join the blocks is yet to be identified, although natural resins or slaked lime have been suggested.[25]

Angkor Wat has drawn praise above all for the harmony of its design, which has been compared to the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. According to Maurice Glaize, a mid-20th-century conservator of AngkorSony VPCZ12Z9E/X battery, the temple "attains a classic perfection by the restrained monumentality of its finely balanced elements and the precise arrangement of its proportions. It is a work of power, unity and style."[26]

Architecturally, the elements characteristic of the style include: the ogival, redented towers shaped like lotus buds; half-galleries to broaden passageways; axial galleries connecting enclosures; and the cruciform terraces which appear along the main axis of the templeSony VPCZ138GA battery. Typical decorative elements are devatas (or apsaras), bas-reliefs, and on pediments extensive garlands and narrative scenes. The statuary of Angkor Wat is considered conservative, being more static and less graceful than earlier work.[27] Other elements of the design have been destroyed by looting and the passage of time, including gilded stucco on the towers, gilding on some figures on the bas-reliefs, and wooden ceiling panels and doors. Sony VPCZ13M9E/B battery

The Angkor Wat style was followed by that of the Bayon period, in which quality was often sacrificed to quantity.[29] Other temples in the style are Banteay Samré, Thommanon, Chao Say Tevoda and the early temples of Preah Pithu at Angkor; outside Angkor, Beng Mealea and parts of Phanom Rung and PhimaiSony VPCZ13M9E/X battery.

Features

Aerial view of Angkor Wat

Outer enclosure

The outer wall, 1024 by 802 m and 4.5 m high, is surrounded by a 30 m apron of open ground and a moat 190 m wide. Access to the temple is by an earth bank to the east and a sandstone causeway to the west; the latter, the main entrance, is a later addition, possibly replacing a wooden bridge. Sony VPCZ13V9E battery There are gopuras at each of the cardinal points; the western is by far the largest and has three ruined towers. Glaize notes that this gopura both hides and echoes the form of the temple proper.[31] Under the southern tower is a statue of Vishnu, known as Ta Reach, which may originally have occupied the temple's central shrine.[30] Galleries run between the towers and as far as two further entrances on either side of the gopura often referred to as "elephant gates"Sony VPCZ13V9E/X battery, as they are large enough to admit those animals. These galleries have square pillars on the outer (west) side and a closed wall on the inner (east) side. The ceiling between the pillars is decorated with lotus rosettes; the west face of the wall with dancing figures; and the east face of the wall with balustered windows, dancing male figures on prancing animals, and devatas, including (south of the entrance) the only one in the temple to be showing her teethSony VPCZ13Z9E/X battery.

The outer wall encloses a space of 820,000 square metres (203 acres), which besides the temple proper was originally occupied by the city and, to the north of the temple, the royal palace. Like all secular buildings of Angkor, these were built of perishable materials rather than of stone, so nothing remains of them except the outlines of some of the streets.Sony VPCZ21M9E battery Most of the area is now covered by forest. A 350 m causeway connects the western gopura to the temple proper, with naga balustrades and six sets of steps leading down to the city on either side. Each side also features a library with entrances at each cardinal point, in front of the third set of stairs from the entrance, and a pond between the library and the temple itselfSony VPCZ21Q9E battery. The ponds are later additions to the design, as is the cruciform terrace guarded by lions connecting the causeway to the central structure.

Central structure

Miniature model of the central structure of Angkor Wat. In the foreground the cruciform terrace which lies in front of the central structure.

The temple stands on a terrace raised higher than the city. It is made of three rectangular galleries rising to a central tower, each level higher than the last. Mannikka interprets these galleries as being dedicated to the king, Brahma, the moon, and Vishnu. Sony VPCZ21V9E batteryEach gallery has a gopura at each of the points, and the two inner galleries each have towers at their corners, forming a quincunx with the central tower. Because the temple faces west, the features are all set back towards the east, leaving more space to be filled in each enclosure and gallery on the west side; for the same reason the west-facing steps are shallower than those on the other sidesSony VPCEH3T9E battery.

The outer gallery measures 187 by 215 m, with pavilions rather than towers at the corners. The gallery is open to the outside of the temple, with columned half-galleries extending and buttressing the structure. Connecting the outer gallery to the second enclosure on the west side is a cruciform cloister called Preah Poan (the "Hall of a Thousand Gods")Sony VPCEH3N6E battery. Buddha images were left in the cloister by pilgrims over the centuries, although most have now been removed. This area has many inscriptions relating the good deeds of pilgrims, most written in Khmer but others in Burmese and Japanese. The four small courtyards marked out by the cloister may originally have been filled with water.[33] North and south of the cloister are librariesSony VPCEH3N1E battery.

Beyond, the second and inner galleries are connected to each other and to two flanking libraries by another cruciform terrace, again a later addition. From the second level upwards, devatas abound on the walls, singly or in groups of up to four. The second-level enclosure is 100 by 115 m, and may originally have been flooded to represent the ocean around Mount Meru. Sony VPCEH3D0E battery Three sets of steps on each side lead up to the corner towers and gopuras of the inner gallery. The very steep stairways represent the difficulty of ascending to the kingdom of the gods.[35] This inner gallery, called the Bakan, is a 60 m square with axial galleries connecting each gopura with the central shrine, and subsidiary shrines located below the corner towersSony VPCEH3B1E battery. The roofings of the galleries are decorated with the motif of the body of a snake ending in the heads of lions or garudas. Carved lintels and pediments decorate the entrances to the galleries and to the shrines. The tower above the central shrine rises 43 m to a height of 65 m above the ground; unlike those of previous temple mountains, the central tower is raised above the surrounding four. Sony VPCEH2Z1E batteryThe shrine itself, originally occupied by a statue of Vishnu and open on each side, was walled in when the temple was converted to Theravada Buddhism, the new walls featuring standing Buddhas. In 1934, the conservator George Trouvé excavated the pit beneath the central shrine: filled with sand and water it had already been robbed of its treasure, but he did find a sacred foundation deposit of gold leaf two metres above ground level. Sony VPCEH2S9E battery

Decoration

Devatas are characteristic of the Angkor Wat style.

The bas-relief of the Churning of the Sea of Milk shows Vishnu in the centre, his turtle Avatar Kurma below, asuras and devas to left and right, and apsaras and Indra above.

Integrated with the architecture of the building, and one of the causes for its fame is Angkor Wat's extensive decoration, which predominantly takes the form of bas-relief friezesSony VPCEH2Q1E battery. The inner walls of the outer gallery bear a series of large-scale scenes mainly depicting episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Higham has called these, "the greatest known linear arrangement of stone carving".[38] From the north-west corner anti-clockwise, the western gallery shows the Battle of Lanka (from the Ramayana, in which Rama defeats Ravana) Sony VPCEH2P0E battery and the Battle of Kurukshetra (from the Mahabharata, showing the mutual annihilation of the Kaurava and Pandava clans). On the southern gallery follow the only historical scene, a procession of Suryavarman II, then the 32 hells and 37 heavens of Hindu mythology.

On the eastern gallery is one of the most celebrated scenes, the Churning of the Sea of Milk, showing 92[39] asuras and 88 devas using the serpent Vasuki to churn the sea under Vishnu's direction Sony VPCEH2N1E battery(Mannikka counts only 91 asuras, and explains the asymmetrical numbers as representing the number of days from the winter solstice to the spring equinox, and from the equinox to the summer solstice).[40] It is followed by Vishnu defeating asuras (a 16th-century addition). The northern gallery shows Krishna's victory over Bana (where according to Glaize, "The workmanship is at its worst"Sony VPCEH2M9E battery) and a battle between the Hindu gods and asuras. The north-west and south-west corner pavilions both feature much smaller-scale scenes, some unidentified but most from the Ramayana or the life of Krishna.

[edit]Construction techniques

The stones, as smooth as polished marble, were laid without mortar with very tight joints that were sometimes hard to find. The blocks were held together by mortise and tenon joints in some cases, while in others they used dovetails and gravitySony VPCEH2M1E battery. The blocks were presumably put in place by a combination of elephants, coir ropes, pulleys and bamboo scaffolding. Henri Mouhot noted that most of the blocks had holes 2.5 cm in diameter and 3 cm deep, with more holes on the larger blocks. Some scholars have suggested that these were used to join them together with iron rods, but others claim they were used to hold temporary pegs to help manoeuvre them into placeSony VPCEH2L9E battery.

The monument was made out of enormous amounts of sandstone, as much as Khafre's pyramid in Egypt (over 5 million tons). This sandstone had to be transported from Mount Kulen, a quarry approximately 25 miles (40 km) to the northeast. The stone was presumably transported by raft along the Siem Reap riverSony VPCEH2J1E battery. This would have to have been done with care to avoid overturning the rafts with such a large amount of weight. One modern engineer estimated it would take 300 years to complete Angkor Wat today.[42] Yet the monument was begun soon after Suryavarman came to the throne and was finished shortly after his death, no more than 40 yearsSony VPCEH2H1E battery.

Virtually all of its surfaces, columns, lintels even roofs are carved. There are miles of reliefs illustrating scenes from Indian literature including unicorns, griffins, winged dragons pulling chariots as well as warriors following an elephant-mounted leader and celestial dancing girls with elaborate hair styles. The gallery wall alone is decorated with almost 1,000 square metres of bas reliefsSony VPCEH2F1E battery. Holes on some of the Angkor walls indicate that they may have been decorated with bronze sheets. These were highly prized in ancient times and were a prime target for robbers. While excavating Khajuraho, Alex Evans, a stonemason and sculptor, recreated a stone sculpture under 4 feet (1.2 m), this took about 60 days to carve.[43] Roger Hopkins and Mark Lehner also conducted experiments to quarry limestone which took 12 quarrymen 22 days to quarry about 400 tons of stone. Sony VPCEH2E0E batteryThe labour force to quarry, transport, carve and install so much sandstone must have run into the thousands including many highly skilled artisans. The skills required to carve these sculptures were developed hundreds of years earlier, as demonstrated by some artifacts that have been dated to the seventh century, before the Khmer came to powerSony VPCEH2D0E battery.

Angkor Wat today

World Monuments Fund video on conservation of Angkor Wat

The Archaeological Survey of India carried out restoration work on the temple between 1986 and 1992.[45] Since the 1990s, Angkor Wat has seen continued conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism. The temple is part of the Angkor World Heritage Site, established in 1992, which has provided some funding and has encouraged the Cambodian government to protect the site. Sony VPCEH2C0E battery The German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) is working to protect the devatas and other bas-reliefs which decorate the temple from damage. The organisation's survey found that around 20% of the devatas were in very poor condition, mainly because of natural erosion and deterioration of the stone but in part also due to earlier restoration efforts.[47] Other work involves the repair of collapsed sections of the structure, and prevention of further collapseSony VPCEH29FJ/W battery: the west facade of the upper level, for example, has been buttressed by scaffolding since 2002,[48] while a Japanese team completed restoration of the north library of the outer enclosure in 2005.[49] World Monuments Fund began work on the Churning of the Sea of Milk Gallery in 2008.

Angkor Wat has become a major tourist destination. In 2004 and 2005, government figures suggest that, respectively, 561,000 and 677,000 foreign visitors arrived in Siem Reap provinceSony VPCEH29FJ/P battery, approximately 50% of all foreign tourists in Cambodia for both years.[50] The site has been managed by the private SOKIMEX group since 1990, which rented it from the Cambodian government. The influx of tourists has so far caused relatively little damage, other than some graffiti; ropes and wooden steps have been introduced to protect the bas-reliefs and floors, respectivelySony VPCEH29FJ/B battery. Tourism has also provided some additional funds for maintenance—as of 2000 approximately 28% of ticket revenues across the whole Angkor site was spent on the temples—although most work is carried out by foreign government-sponsored teams rather than by the Cambodian authorities.[51]

At the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012, both parties have agreed Borobudur and Angkor Wat to become sister sites and the provinces will become sister provincesSony VPCEH1Z1E battery. Two Indonesian airlines are considering the opportunity to open a direct flight from Yogyakarta, Indonesia to Siem Reap.

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