An American Abroad

Cambodia: Angkor Thom, Part 1

Angkor Wat is stately, symmetrical, and tasteful, a formal masterpiece — but Angkor Thom, just a few kilometers away, is a feral looking pile of stones.

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Angkor Wat is Queen Elizabeth: dignified, careful, and articulate. Angkor Thom is your crazy uncle who wears mismatched socks, drinks too much, and is given to ranting in the supermarket.

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Angkor Wat is the Taj Mahal. Angkor Thom is a folly like The House on the Rock.

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Angkor Thom is a crazy-making place, one that looks to’ve been designed by an alien madman. It’s the least earthly structure I’ve ever seen. In its confounding layout and rugged design, it looks like something from the Stone Age.

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And what it lacks in Angkor Wat’s symmetry, size, and fame it makes up for in massive Buddha faces carved into its spires. (The facial recognition option on my Sony NEX 5n picked them out immediately.)

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There are also some outbuildings that provide a calming classical contrast to the wildness of the main building.

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[Go on to Cambodia: Angkor Thom, Part 2]


  1. Mary Cole says:

    Mount Rushmore of Cambodia.

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