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Bayon temple in Angkor Wat temple complex photo

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.

 

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Stone faces Bayon temple, which is located in the heart of Angkor Thom
On the upper terrace of Bayon one can come close to the towers with stone faces
General view of Bayon temple. It has 37 towers and about 150 stone faces.
The size of Bayon temple faces is about 3 meters. All of the faces are smiling.
Each tower has 4 faces looking in different directions
It is believed that many faces resemble that of the king who had the temple built, Jayavarman VII
On the lower terraces there are many bas reliefs of Apsarases, the celestial maidens with magic powers
As in the other temples of Angkor Wat, lions are at the entrance of Bayon temple
Towers with faces on the upper terraces of Bayon temple
Towers with faces on the upper terraces of Bayon temple
Dancing Apsarases, the celestial demi-goddesses from the Kingdom of Indra
Bas reliefs with scenes from the Ramayana on the walls of the Bayon temple in the Angkor Wat temple complex
Small towers with faces on the upper terrace and the biggest pyramid of 50 meters high (on the right)
The ruins of Bayon temple
Bayon has 37 towers and about 150 stone faces
On the upper terrace of Bayon temple
Near the entrance of Bayon temple
One of the Bayon sanctuaries
Towers of Bayon temple
Stone lions at the door of Bayon temple
Stone faces of Bayon in the rays of the setting sun
Lower terrace of Bayon temple
On the lower terraces there are many bas reliefs of Apsarases, the celestial maidens with magic powers
At the doorway of Bayon temple
One of the Bayon sanctuaries
Tourists buy pictures with the views of Bayon from a local artist