March 15, 2015 – Cambodia: Day 002
Okay, we’re back to the crankiness when it comes to my reflections on Angkor, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and place that once stood as the seat of the Khmer Empire for seven centuries.
There is no doubt that this site is impressive.
There is no doubt that this site is massive.
There is no doubt that this site is awe-inspiring.
There is no doubt that this site requires a guide if you ever go (and a dress code also).
There is also no doubt that this site is in ruins.
Trust me, I know it sounds odd to lament the fact that a ruin looks…well, ruined…and that a collection of buildings built over a millenia ago looks like the cleaners haven’t come by in about three hundred years, but it’s true about this Cambodian treasure.
The fact that there were piles of rocks strewn about and that there were piles of rocks stacked up in aesthetic manners, for me, took a bit of shine off this place.
Maybe I’m just an archaeological snob. Maybe I’ve been ruined by our Peruvian experience to Machu Picchu and Ollantayambo where those locations looked like the place had been taken care of. Or at least cared about.
Below are just a sample of images of what I saw to explain what I mean…
For the rubble that is stacked neatly on the ground, I should point out that each rock has a number on it. Our guide informed us that this is done so that – at some point in the future – the material can be placed back in its original location. Preservationists and other scholarly type folk came through Angkor and dismantled parts of the complex that were in danger of collapsing. The removed material is cataloged and stored (usually on the ground) with the intention of returning the structure to its original grandeur.
For the rocks lying in a pell-mell manner, I saw no classification.
I did snap this shot below of someone’s handiwork who decided to take some of the rubble and make their own structure. It’s not part of the original Khmer plan, but it still looked good.