"Were you at Angkor Thom?"
Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom - Credit: David Sim
was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire
. It was established in the late twelfth century by king Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman's state temple, the Bayon, with the other major sites clustered around the Victory Square immediately to the north.
The last temple known to have been constructed in Angkor Thom was Mangalartha, which was dedicated in 1295. In the following centuries Angkor Thom remained the capital of a kingdom in decline until it was abandoned some time prior to 1609. It is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000-150,000 people. The city lies on the right bank of the Siem Reap River, a tributary of Tonle Sap, about a quarter of a mile from the river.