〒180-0006 東京都武蔵野市中町2-3-5 IIHA武蔵野1階
Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Angkor: Asia’s ancient ‘Hydraulic City’
Located in the northwest of Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a large, massive religious structure. The Hindu temple was built in the early 12th century in the capital of the Khmer Empire but was later converted to a Buddhist temple. The mighty empire was established in 802 CE and lasted until 1431. At its peak in the 12th and 13th centuries, it ruled most of mainland Southeast Asia. In fact, the ancient Angkor was designed, built, and maintained by an unprecedented scale of the hydraulic system, which brought water from Phnom Kulen, a mountain range in the north of Siem Reap, to the plains of Angkor. Indeed, water had been the vital source of prosperity and survival of the ancient capital. Then in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, dramatic shifts in climate caused extended monsoon rains followed by intense droughts, which caused substantial impacts on the capital city’s water management system and weaken the empire to fall. The abandoned ruins were rediscovered in 1860 by a French explorer, and restoration projects began. Recently, the scale and extent of the ancient hydraulic system were researched through airborne laser scanning technology, which allowed archeologists to reveal the true picture of Angkor.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about how Asia’s ancient capital and temples were created and managed.