The first visitors from the Western world compared ancient architecture of Angkor Wat to the best examples of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. A Portuguese monk, who saw it in 1586, wrote that «its extraordinary construction is not possible to describe with a pen».
Angkor Wat is a part of a huge Angkor complex, situated in Siem Reap province of Cambodia. It was built in the early 12th century by a Khmer king to serve as his state temple and capital city. Initially a Hindu site, it was later converted to be used by Buddhists.
The temple’s design represents Mount Meru, a place which Hindus consider to be home of the gods. Its towers symbolize mountain’s peak, and the walls and moats represent the ocean and mountains around it. Angkor Wat’s galleries and shrines are covered with the finest bas-reliefs, which became a part of the worldwide fame of this monument of the ancient Khmer empire.