The beginning of the Khmer or Angkor civilization takes place during the period from 802 to 1431 A.D.. It stretched, then its apogee, up to the Thailand-Burma border in the West and Wat Phou of Laos in the North.
It appeared owing to the ancient Khmer rulers who strengthened unity between peoples with a good political doctrine and the development of an intelligent irrigation system who allowed to control water of the Mekong River for agriculture and so to work out its prosperity. Then it were slowly deteriorated during five century. Of this Khmer Civilization, it left some fabulous and exceptional monuments (like Angkor Wat and Bayon Khmers temples), some numerous sculptures.
The word ” Angkor ” is derived Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language), of “ Nagara ” which means “ City “. Angkor Wat literally means ” City of Temple ” and Angkor Thom ” The Magnificent City “.
The ancient Khmer’s were great masters of stone carving and we can see the evidences of various Angkor temples who extended on the large plain of Siem Reap up to outside of Cambodian border to the Preah Vihear at Dangrek mountain, Phnomrung and Phimai in Thailand and Wat Phu in Laos. These temples were make up patiently during centuries by Khmer artisans. This expect a main energy to realize such efforts as a long time, in contradiction with the normal and easy life of the Khmer people and villagers of their time.
For historians and archaeologists, it is not easy to do the detailed study of Khmer civilization. Most of the writing, found after the excavation of Angkor, were carved in the stones, who became the best support against time wear. They are important evidences to understand the basic constituency of Khmer society and its chronology. They relate principally religious rituals, king’s praise and literature of Indian epics of ” Ramayana ” and “ Mahabharata “. There is not much things on the subject of the ordinary life of the local people.
It is owing to a Chinese Ambassador, Zhou Daguan in the middle of 13th century during the Chinese dynasty Yuan, who traveled to Angkor, lived with peoples and explored the empire during one year, that we learn more things about Khmer civilization. He wrote very clearly and vividly how people were live in the Khmer society in this period.
Angkor Wat represent center of Khmer civilization. It is situated on the plain of Siem Reap province north of the Great Lake of Tonle Sap.
All along Khmer history, the throne were often desire, which involved some violent bloodshed. Differences successive kings build each one a different capital, all in the Angkor Wat and Ruolos sector, with some names like Hariharata, Yasodharapura, Jayendanagari, Angkor Thom and a lot of others unknown names.
Much temples like Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom represent incontestably the relics of the past Khmer Civilization.
In the Khmer society, hierarchy include above the God-King, surrounded by brahmins tutors and the members of his royal family. The priests who live in the temples were also powerful and controlled their own lands and paddy fields.
The names of donors were written in the stone, on the temples and we learn that they were allowed noblemen or high dignitary responsible for the administrative and judiciary tasks, how that may be, all this wasn’t very precise for historians, it is so difficult to drove up a complete list of the Angkor Empire hierarchy.
The Khmer Civilization economy was based principally on agriculture, the majority of people was farmers or peasants and some of the less wealthy of them was fastened to large landowners or of the temples.
The lowest hierarchy of the Khmer Civilization was reserved to slaves who bellowed at temples, which we found the majority of the names inscribed on the stone. Their names was kept in a holy place, what who let think they could not have been the low class slaves as its word ” slave ” implied. For historians they were only temples servants and priests were ” Gods slaves ” and not to any human being. In fact, slaves were mostly captured in the neighboring countries, but Khmer people themselves could fall in the lowest status and being a ” slave ” if they failed to pay their rents or loans to the upper ruling class.
Angkor World Heritage Site
After the collapse of the Khmer civilisation, Angkor was abandoned and the temples were covered by the forest. They were “rediscovered” in the 1860s by the French. At its zenith, Angkor was inhabited by approximately 2 million people. At the present state, this living heritage is a home of about 70,000 inhabitants.
In 1991, due to the wrecked condition of the temples, King NORODOM Sihanouk appealed to UNESCO to coordinate the international efforts to preserve and safeguard the Angkor site. On 14th December 1992, Angkor was inscribed in the World Heritage List and the World Heritage in Danger. Covering the area of 401 km2 with 90 temples (please the attached list of temples); Angkor was inscribed on the basis of the following criteria:
1. it represents a unique artistic achievement, a master piece of creative genius;
2. it has exerted great influence over a span of time, within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture, monumental arts, and landscaping;
3. it bears a unique exceptional testimony to a civilisation which has disappeared; and
4. it is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble which illustrates a significant stage in history.
Also the Angkor Park was inscribed under five conditions as below:
(a) Enact adequate protective legislation
(b) Establish an adequately staffed national protection agency
(c) Establish permanent boundaries based on the UNDP project
(d) Define meaningful buffer zones
(e) Establish monitoring and coordination of the internationally conservation effort.
♣ នេះគឺជារូបអប្សរាពីរក្នុងចំនោម ១០០០ អប្សរា ដែលស្ថិតនៅលើជញ្ជាំងប្រាសាទអង្គរវត្ត។ រូបអប្សរាពីរនេះ មានលក្ខណៈពិសេសខុសពីរូបអប្សរាឯទៀតត្រង់ថាអប្សរាពីរនេះញញឹម ចេញធ្មេញ ចំនែកឯរូបអប្សរា ចំនួន ៩៩៨ ទៀតគឺគ្មានរូបអប្សរាមួយណាញញឹមចេញធ្មេញ នោះទេ ។