Angkor Thom's stone-carved human faces

Angkor Thom's stone-carved human faces

Got a penchant for natural grandeur? History and architecture too? The centuries-old trees at Angkor Thom embrace the city’s ancient stone with grappling roots and a resonant sense of timelessness. The mightiest of past empires have always fallen, and seeing tree roots suffocate the giant, becalmed faces carved into the central Bayon is evidence enough of Angkor’s fate. Elaborate scenes of a lost empire are carved in the city’s tumble down halls and friezes and barely escaped obliteration by the advance of surrounding jungle. Now the trees are both preservative and destructive, both holding together and pulling apart the ruins. However, they significantly add to the contemplative aura of Angkor and your experience of the site. Its present day appearance, complete with buzzing cicadas and bird calls, is a fine reminder of nature’s dominion over man and at once a spectacular testament to the wealth and refinement of classic Khmer culture. And of the Indiana Jones movie franchise.

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