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Ancient Observatories
Angkor Wat

The temple at Angkor Wat was constructed in the first half of the twelfth century.This massive temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia was constructed in the first half of the twelfth century by King Suryavarman II (r. 1113-ca. 1150). Angkor Wat is surrounded by a 200-m.-wide moat, crossed by a bridge on the west.

The builders of Angkor Wat were not interested in creating a temple merely to honor their deities. They created in its very structure and orientation, a reminder of the greater cosmic order, reflected in both the passage of time, and in the changing rays of the sun at propitious times of the year.

Latitude 13°25'48'' N longitude100°54'00'' E

In 1976, University of Michigan researchers suggested that the architect of ancient Cambodia's Angkor Wat had encoded calendrical, historical and cosmological themes into his architectural plan for the temple. Published in the journal Science, the study demonstrated how Angkor Wat's architect had established solar alignments between the temple and a nearby mountaintop shrine that took place during the summer solstice.

For example, standing at Pre Rup 6 kilometers away at winter solstice, one would see the setting sun over Angkor Wat. Standing near the southwestern corner in Angkor Thom the rising sun at summer equinox will be visible through, or over, the eastern gate. Six months later, the alignment has shifted to its northern point of sunrise at winter solstice.

by: Courtesy of NASA

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Other Images:

Temple Towers at Angkor Wat The main entrance to the Angkor Wat Temple proper, seen from the eastern end of the Naga causeway. An 1866 photograph of Angkor Wat Temple
Aerial view of Angkor Wat Temple The Angkor Wat Temple viewed from the northwest Model of Angkor Wat Temple showing the half-galleries of the lower level and towers at the corners of the second-level galleries.
Model of Angkor Wat Temple. In the foreground is depicted the cruciform terrace which lies in front of the central structure.

Source: http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2005/locations/angkorwat.htm

Article Photo: Andy Brouwer


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