The Khmer Kingdom in Cambodia is one that is steeped in history; known for its stunning temple complex, the kingdom thrived but eventually fell to ruin though has still many tales to tell.
The Kingdom Flourishes
The Khmer Kingdom dates back from the 9th to the 15th centuries and was a key powerhouse in Southeast Asia; its capital was Angkor where many immense monuments and temples were built; the ruins of these can be easily visited by those staying at a luxury hotel in Siem Reap near the Angkor Archaeological Park.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the archaeological park is home to impressive sites including the massive Angkor Wat Temple as well as the Ta Prohm, Bayon and Preah Khan temples. Nearby hotels provide guided tours of the area, while properties like Anantara Angkor Resort even have helicopter tours which provide unique perspectives.
Apart from the temples and monuments, the kingdom also featured an ingenious system of waterworks showcasing the skill of engineers at the time; it had an elaborate system of reservoirs and canals that enabled water to be stored for the dry months and excess water to be distributed when the rainy season arrived.
The Kingdom’s Decline
There does not appear to be a clear-cut reason as to why the Khmer Kingdom declined though scholars have come up with several possibilities. These include attacks from the Ayutthaya state, a shift to an economy that depended on maritime trade and the change of religious beliefs which may have led to a rebellion.