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Preah Khan

Preah Khan or Royal Sword or Holy Sword is a ruined temple built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century in Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, in honor of his father. Sites to the northeast of Angkor Thom and west of Jayatataka baray as the center of government with more than 100,000 officials and employees.

Preah Khan was built on Jayawarman VII's victory site over the Chams that struck at 1191. The temple is in a flat design with a rectangular layout in succession around a Buddhist sanctuary complex by Hindu satellite temples. This site was previously the royal palace of Yasovarman II and Tribhuvanadityavarman.

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Preah Khan has been abandoned and largely untreated with many trees and other vegetation growing among the ruins. The site began cleaned early in 1927 to 1932 and partial anastilosis was done in 1939 where free standing sculptures were removed for safe storage and further consolidation for restoration.

The site covers 56 hectares (140 acres) and is surrounded by a 800 meter long trench and 700 meters wide, and the outer wall is a laterite containing 72 garuda holding the nagas with a space of 50 meters. To the east is a stage on the edge of Jayatataka baray which has a measuring 3.5x0.9 kilometers (2x1 mi).

The entrance is oriented eastward like other Angkor sites, but also has several doors at each cardinal point. Each entrance has a cross road over the moat with devas and asuras that resemble Angkor Thom as an indication of the element of Preah Khan city more significant than Ta Prohm or Banteay Kdei.

Halfway to the third room on the north side is Dharmasala or House of Fire similar to Ta Prohm. The cage has a size of 200x175 meters (656x574 feet). In front of the third gopura is a large-scale cross terrace with three minarets in the center and two flanking pavilions. On the far side of the temple is the third western gopura has pediments.

In the west of the third easterly gopura is the Hall of Dancers. The walls are decorated with angels. North of the Hall of Dancers is a two-story structure with round columns. On the third side of the cage is a pond in every corner and satellite temples headed north, south and west. The main temple is Buddhist, but the satellite temples are dedicated to Shiva, king-queens, and Vishnu.

The second cage wall has a size of 85x76 meters (279x249 feet) and the first enclosure wall has 62x55 meters (203x180 ft). In the center is an additional row that blocks access and hides some original decorations. The enclosures are divided into four parts by the cross gallery and each part is almost filled by an irregular addition.

The walls of this gallery and the interior of the central shrine are covered with a hole for the installation of a bronze slab that was originally a cover. In the center of the temple where the original statue of Lokesvara is a stupa built several centuries after the early construction of the temple.

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Location: Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Siem Reap International Airport at Siem Reap City.

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» Cambodia
» List of Heritage Sites

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