Sunrise on Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This photo was was taken in Angkor in Cambodia, and is showing a sunrise at Angkor Wat, the prime example and most known of the classical style of Khmer architecture, and the world's largest single religious monument. Angkor Wat was built for King Suryavarman II, king of the Khmer Empire, in the early 12th century, which he dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It was designed as a pyramid representing the structure of the universe: the highest level at the center of the temple represented Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods, with the five towers on the highest level representing the five peaks of the mountain. The broad moat around the complex represented the oceans that surround the world.
After Angkor was sacked in 1177 by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer, the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple in Angkor Thom and the Bayon (see other post on Bayon, Angkor Thom on this blog).
In the 14th or 15th century the temple was converted to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the present day.
Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag and is a source of great national pride. A depiction of Angkor Wat has been a part of every flags of Cambodia since the introduction of the first version circa 1863.