The Australian archaeologist Damian Evans has discovered undocumented ancient cities between 900 and 1,400 years ago buried in the Cambodian jungle surrounding Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Some cities can reach the size of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh (about 678.5 square kilometers). The new finding may rewrite the history of Southeast Asia.
Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia
The existence of Mahendraparvata (the 1,200-year-old lost medieval city in Cambodia) was confirmed in 2012. In 2015, Damian Evans and his colleagues utilized the advanced light-scanning equipment lidar to scan more than 735 square miles of the Angkor region. Recently, the entire ancient cities beneath the jungle have been found by analyzing data captured in 2015. These cities seemed to have constituted the Khmer Empire, the largest empire on earth in the 12th century.
The new discovery can deepen our understanding of Khmer culture and cast into doubt the traditional assumptions about the empire. In addition, the survey detected elaborate water systems were constructed hundreds of years earlier than historians previously believed. It appears that these ancient cities will become the new secrets attracting tourists to visit and explore soon.
Although it remains unknown when the newly discovered ancient cities will be opened to visitors, Angkor Wat has already been extremely popular with world travelers. The magnificent temple was built by King Suryavarman II and is considered among the most significant attractions in Southeast Asia widely. It consists of three rectangular galleries surrounding a central tower, each level higher than the last. Small apsara images are used as decorative motifs on pillars and walls and larger devata images are employed in the entry pavilion of the temple to the tops of the high towers.
Devatas, characteristic of the Angkor Wat style
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