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Archaeological site, northwestern Cambodia. Located 4 mi (6 km) north of the modern town of Siemréab (Siem Reap), it was the capital of the Khmer (Cambodian) empire from the 9th to the 15th century. Its most imposing monuments are Angkor Wat, a temple complex built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, and Angkor Thom, a temple complex built c. 1200 by King Jayavarman VII. During the period of great construction that lasted more than 300 years, there were many changes in architecture as the religious focus changed from Hindu to Buddhist cults. After the Tai conquest of the Khmer in the 15th century, the ruined city and its temples were buried in the jungle. When the French colonial regime was established in 1863, the entire site became the focus of scholarly interest. During Cambodia's political upheavals of the late 20th century there was some war damage, but the major problem was one of neglect. Angkor was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Angkor, visit Britannica.com.