South Gate

South Gate

South Gate of Angkor Thom known as Big Angkor, 3km2 walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian Empire.

The giant faces on the towers - The towers, known as “face towers” similar to those at the Bayon, contain four very large heads on top of the gates facing each of the four cardinal directions. They are believed to represent Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. The central tower contains 2 faces looking in opposite directions; each of the smaller towers have 1 face each looking in one of the remaining two directions.

A great deal of knowledge about the history and daily life in Angkor was gained from the accounts of Zhou Daguan, a Chinese diplomat who lived in Angkor for a year until July 1297. According to him, there was a fifth head on the gopura’s top at the time, of which nothing remains today.

Looking through the tower one can see a corbel arch, a hallmark of Khmer architecture. Inside, wooden crossbeams are visible and a sentry box stands on each side.

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