Preah Vihear Temple
Constructed: Late 9th – mid- 12th centuries C.E.
Religion: Hindu (Shiva)
King/Patron: Yosovarman I and Suryavarman I & II
The Preah Vihear Temple is a Khmer temple situatedy atop Pey Tadi, a 525-metre (1720 ft) cliff in the Dangrek Mountains located in the Preah Vihear Province of northern Cambodia. The temple gives its name to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province and is 140 km from Angkor Wat, approximately 320 km from Phnom Penh.
Preah Vihear Temple has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire. The Temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and is built with a clear view of the plains from where it stands. Dedicated to Shiva, this temple is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north-south axis rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. However, although the structure of this temple is very different from the temple ‘mountains’ found at Angkor, it is believed to have been built to serve the same purpose as a stylised representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
Through the energetic efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia under the wise, brilliant leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Preah Vihear Temple has been listed and declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO on July 8, 2008.