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Zeiss Ikon, Contina I (d) (526/24-mod), 35mm Camera. Sample images - 4

Sharing a border with Cambodia means getting from Vietnam to Angkor is a simple task. Angkor was the ancient capital of the Khmers but was abandoned after it was sacked by the Siamese over five centuries ago. The jungle rapidly encroached on the site and systematically demolished the ancient cities and they remained largely forgotten until the 1860s when they were discovered by the French. A huge project to clear and partially reconstruct many of the sites began. One of the most challenging is the Bauphon inside the city of Angkor Thom, this was entirely dismantled to reinforce the crumpling innards, the huge carved blocks were laid out in front of the site and carefully documented, this process was terminated at the end of the Vietnam War, when the US supported Cambodian Government collapsed following US withdrawal and Pol Pot and the 'Khmer Rouge' started their orgy of terror. All the records for the archeology were destroyed and all but a handful of the 1000 strong Khmer team were executed.

Angkor was the ancient capital of the Khmers

Now in happier times, a French sponsored team have started where they left off and the task of re-assembling the enormous jigsaw puzzle continues....

Spectacular Cumulous Nimbus cloud

Spectacular Cumulous Nimbus cloud building rapidly to the North of the Tonle Sap lake, the occasional bolt of lightning would arc as it crawled towards us, fortunately the sun set shortly afterwards and, robbed of the energy that fueled it's birth, it subsided into a benign shadow of itself and allowed us a dry walk back.

Ta Prohm,         seemingly left as it was found

One of the most romantic sites within the Angkor complex is Ta Prohm, seemingly left as it was found. it gives a wonderful impression of what it might have been like to stumble across it. In fact the site has been cleared significantly and some attempt is currently underway to make safe some of the more precarious structures, however it remains my favourite of all the sites, with it's towering fig trees grappling with the structures as if some absurdly huge candle has been allowed to drip wax over them.

At right is the inside of one of the corridors of the very similarly romantic Keah Preahn site

romantic Keah Preahn

 

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