Famous for its iconic natural attractions, the Kingdom of Cambodia is a country with a rich culture due to its ancient past and history. From its vast array of enchanting landscapes to the beauty of its colonial architectural roots, it is above all its majestic temples, true gems, that attract travelers. To get a glimpse of its colorful heritage, we suggest you discover the "forgotten" temple of Preah Vihear.
The temple of Preah Vihear is a sacred Angkorian site located on the border between Cambodia and Thailand, dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva (*). Built during the Khmer Empire (from the 9th to the 15th century), the complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 7th 2008.
With one of the most spectacular settings in Cambodia, this temple was built over 300 years by different kings. Unlike other Angkor temples, it is built on a north-south axis (most Angkor temples are generally oriented towards the sun).
Located on top of a 525-meter cliff in the Dangrek Mountains in Preah Vihear province, this shrine was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva in his manifestations as the mountain gods Sikharesvara and Bharesvara.
Cambodia's ownership of the temple was challenged by neighboring Thailand. In 1962, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia.
The site of Preah Vihear is primarily exceptional because of its unique architectural style, adapted to the natural setting of the monument, and its breathtaking view of Cambodia and Thailand from the hilltop.
Built along cliffs about 700 meters above sea level, the temple is composed of four levels with four courtyards, each containing five pavilions, and well-preserved carved stone ornamentation.
Since ancient times, Preah Vihear has been a place of pilgrimage and sacred worship for kings and locals.
This marvelous temple is an example of one of the most important ancient artistic and architectural achievements in Cambodia. Today, Preah Vihear remains one of the country's cultural treasures and the triumph of hundreds of years of Khmer history.
(*) Shiva is one of the three great gods of Hinduism along with Brahma (creative energy) and Vishnu (energy of preservation). He symbolizes the opposite powers of creation and destruction; he is the great master of ascetics and magicians. He is the father of the famous god Ganesh, symbolizing wisdom and prosperity.