A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Cruising the Nile, Egypt
4th July 2011
11th-century Khmer tower finally re-opened after archaeologists take decades to put it back together
Baphuon, an intricately-carved, three-tiered Hindu temple at the heart of the Angkor Thom complex, was finally re-opened this month after workers finally put over 300,000 sandstone blocks together again.
The temple was built in 1060 by Udayadityavarman II (although it may have been started earlier) and was dedicated to Shiva and originally covered in bronze, none of which remains.
The £9m project began in the 1960s when a team of French archaeologists decided that the only way to save the temple from collapsing was to take it apart and put it back together again. Each block had a number painted on it and marked in a matching entry on a master plan so the tower could be rebuilt.
Disaster struck when the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975 and destroyed the master plan. When the project was restarted in 1995, the reconstruction team were faced with a daunting task. Pascal Royere, the French archaeologist overseeing the project, explained that no two blocks had the same dimensions. And because no mortar was used, each stone had its own place.
“We were facing a three-dimensional puzzle,” said Mr Royere. “ A 300,000-piece puzzle to which we had lost the picture.”
Despite the best efforts of archaeologists, more than 10,000 stones were left over and lay scattered on the forest floor surrounding the temple.
"A pilgrimage to Angkor inspires most journeys to Cambodia. Undoubtedly the temples are in a class of their own: the soaring symmetry of Angkor Wat’s five towers, the gargantuan faces of the Bayon and the monstrous trees overwhelming Ta Prohm – all of these are iconic images of Asia." The best corners of Cambodia | Destinations... More
For more stories visit our news pages
Illegal water pumping threatens Angkor Wat | News... More
Angkor Travel Guide | Destinations... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
If there were 10,000 bits left over, I think 'solved' is probably the wrong word to use! Hell of an effort though.
Good point Pluck!!
With 10,000 bits left over it must be the very first selfassembly flatpack from MFI
Angkor travel guide, including map of Cambodia, top Angkor travel experiences, tips for travel around Angkor and how to time your visit to the temples of Angkor
Cambodia travel guide, including map of Cambodia, tips on Cambodian culture, places to visit in Cambodia, when to go to Cambodia and Cambodia travel tips
There are around 150 million tribal people living across the globe – but for how long? We look at the indigenous groups that are on the verge of extinction
If annual leave is tight, don't despair - you can see South East Asia in just a fortnight. Here's how to cram Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam into a two-week trip that won't break the bank
In June 2013 it was confirmed that a jungly plateau in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province was the site of Mahendraparvata, birthplace of the Khmer Empire – and offering a rare chance for travellers to be true pioneers
In a bid to preserve parts of the ancient site of Angkor, Cambodian authorities have developed a guide to offer alternative locations for observing the sunset
Laser mapping has revealed the ruins of an ancient city in Phnom Kulen, Cambodia, thought to be lost for 1,200 years
Plans to construct a four lane road connecting India with Burma and Indo-China are possible since the fall of the Burmese military regime
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
Save £100 on all Nepal Autumn holidays with KE Adventure Travel
Journey to Niagara - Up to £200 off – with BA flights
10% off natural mosquito repellent from incognito
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too