Angkor Royal Enclosure

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The Angkor Royal Enclosure is a walled-off area slightly to the north and west of the centre of Angkor Thom and which housed the palace complex of the Angkor kings. The palace itself was constructed of wood so nothing remains except for said surrounding walls which were constructed out of laterite, the sandstone-clad entrance gopuras and some stone lined bathing pools.

Angkor Royal Enclosure in Siem Reap

The Royal Palace was built by King Jayavarman VII in the city of Angkor Thom, the new capital of the Khmer empire. The Palace area is located directly North of the Baphuon temple and a few hundred meters from the Bayon.

The Royal Palace grounds are enclosed by a laterite wall of which today only the base remains. The 600 meter long by 250 meter wide wall was in turn surrounded by a moat.

At several locations in the enclosing walls were gopura entrance gates. The main entrance is in the Eastern end of the enclosure, at the start of the road from the Palace to the Victory gate, one of Angkor Thom’s city gates. Inscribed in the vestibule of this gate is an oath to allegiance to the King of Angkor.

The Palace grounds were divided into several sections. An entry court to the East where the main entrance was, the Royal enclosures with the Royal Palace and an enclosure for the women in the West. Besides the Royal Palace, there was a great number of buildings for priests, the King’s wives and concubines, soldiers, Palace guards and others. All these structures that were built from perishable materials have long vanished.

At the center of the Royal Palace area is the Phimeanakas temple, that was built much earlier, between 950 and 1050. The exact location of the Royal Palace itself is unknown. Remains of buildings have been found South of the Phimeanakas temple, which are believed to be the foundations of the Palace. Directly to the East of these is a large cruciform terrace and four sanctuaries, that were possibly library buildings. In the Western section of the Palace grounds is an enclosed area, that might have been where the King’s concubines lived.

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