The Lost City of Angkor

Mysteries, Legends And Anecdotes

For hundreds of years, the lost city of Angkor was itself a legend. Cambodian peasants living on the edge of the thick jungle around the Tonle Sap lake reported findings which puzzled the French colonialists who arrived in Indo-China in the 1860s. The peasants said they had found “temples built by gods or by giants.” Their stories were casually dismissed as folktales by the pragmatic Europeans. Yet some did believe that there really was a lost city of a Cambodian empire which had once been powerful and wealthy, but had crumbled many years before.Henri Mahout’s discovery of the Angkor temples in 1860 opened up this `lost city’ to the world.

The legend became fact and a stream of explorers, historians and archaeologists came to Angkor to explain the meaning of these vast buildings. The earliest of these scholars could not believe that Angkor had been built by the Cambodian people, believing the temples to have been built by another race who had conquered and occupied Cambodia maybe 2,000 years before. Gradually, some of the mysteries were explained, the Sanskrit inscriptions deciphered and the history of Angkor slowly pieced together, mainly by French scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Legends still remain. This once great city which had slept for so long still posed many questions.

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  1. March 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Nice to post on

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