Bayon Temple is in the center of the huge square of Angkor Thom, which was the capital of the Khmer Empire in the ancient time. By the size, it is inferior to the nearby Angkor Wat Temple, but its architectural and historic value isn’t the least. From a distance the Bayon Temple looks like a shapeless conglomeration of stones and only when you look closer you will see dozens of faces on the towers of the temple.
Unfortunately, there remained few things of Angkor Thom, though you must acknowledge that even what has remained boggles your mind. At the heart of Angkor Thom there survived the Bayon Temple, and near it – the Elephant Terrace, which, formerly, was a platform from where the king and his retinue viewed army parades and the other events held in the capital.
Bayon Temple is located directly in the center of the city of Angkor Thom, which emphasizes its importance. It was erected in 11-12 centuries during the reign of the king Jayavarman. It is surprising that the temple was built without using concrete.
Bayon Temple has three terraces. In the center of the third terrace there is a massive tower of 43 m (counting from the ground), symbolizing the center of universe. Angkor Wat was built in the same style, and most clearly this idea is expressed in the Ta Kheo Temple.
Apart from the central tower, within the upper terrace there are 52 towers, and they are most attractive for tourists. On 4 sides of each tower you can see human faces of huge sizes (over 2 meters high). Totally, on the upper terrace you can see 208 stone faces. Historians ague whether all these faces are those of Buddha or the king Jayavarman who had the Bayon Temple built.
You may only imagine how the Bayon Temple looked in the ancient time when the upper towers with faces were gilt and on the central tower there was a huge image of Buddha of several meters (it didn’t survive until nowadays), but even today it is impressive. The dimension of the lower terrace is 140 х 160 meters. Unlike the Angkor Wat Temple, which was devoted to the Hindu deity Vishnu, the Bayon Temple was originally devoted to Buddha.