The Khmer Empire started approximately 800 AD with Angkor as it’s seat. Between the 9th and 13th century, some of the world’s most magnificent architectural masterpieces were build here. There were well over 1000 temples in the area. In 1431, Angkor fell to it’s Ayutthayan invaders – ending the Khmer Empire. The whole region was soon abandoned – except for Angkor Wat, which remained a Buddhist Shrine for a little while longer.
Soon, Angkor was forgotten and the jungle took it over – burying the great monuments. In the 19th century, Angkor and it’s ruins were rediscovered and many of the temples have since been restored and protected. For a long time, Cambodia was a bloody war zone (Cambodian Civil War followed by the Red Khmer Regime). The Red Khmer are believed to have killed more than two million people (about 1/3 of Cambodia’s population). For a very long time, these wars made it impossible to visit the breathtaking historic sites of Angkor. In 1993, the king was reinstalled in Cambodia and Angkor became a UNESCO World heritage site. But only in the recent years has Cambodia finally been stable and safe to visit.
Today, Angkor is a mystical and magical place. Walking it’s grounds feels almost unreal – especially early in the morning when the sun slowly rises. This is the best time to visit if you are trying to avoid the masses and tourist groups.
While wandering around the temples and ruins, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the amazing Archways, Galleries and Look Throughs of the various temple ruins. Often, the morning light created an extra mystifying glow – which had me in a ban and “awws”. Therefore, I decided to focus on exactly these Archways with my photographs.
Please enjoy the ARCHWAYS OF ANGKOR:
Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat Archways and Buddha
All images are available as prints on canvas upon request. If interested please contact me via email :)
Cambodia is an amazing, fascinating and colorful place to visit and I strongly recommend for everyone to travel there.
The people are wonderful, warmhearted and welcoming and there a a lot of great programs in place (from unesco as well as various countries and other NGO organization) to help the local people achieve a higher standard of living. New water pumps and filters are being build in several places to provide the people with clean water, schools and hospitals are being supported and much much more. And the tourism helps this country to grow after long years of terrible war and fighting.
Despite the fact that most Cambodians are extremely poor, they are unbelievably happy and willing to work hard and take chances. I feel, we can learn so much from their culture and attitude.
Here are a few first Cambodian country side impressions. I shot most of these pictures while driving around on an old bike in 95 degree Fahrenheit… :)
Children in the street. The two fingers up is a sign for peace and happiness.
Women street workers.
Family passing a rice field. Bikes and Motorbikes are still the most popular means of transportation in Cambodia.
Another family on their bike. I saw up to five people riding on a bike together.
Children washing their hair.
Sweet little Cambodian girl.
More pictures and stories will follow soon.
The land of smiles. Thailand.
Wonderful, mystical, amazing, beautiful Thailand. This is where the journey is taking Ivan and myself for the next two and a half weeks. We will be backpacking thru Thailand and Cambodia – capturing an amazing country and its people. We are looking forward to an adventurous time in the jungle as well as to some relaxing days on the beach. Our goal is to get recharged and energized for the 2012 wedding season – and to discover more of the country that stole our hearts on our honeymoon three years ago.
These are some pictures – taken with my point and shoot – from 2009.