Nearly a thousand years ago King Jayavarman VII ruled the Khmer Empire in present day Siem Reap, Cambodia. Before your eyes glaze over, just let me tell you, you know more about him than you think. He built three of the four great icons in Angkor.
You know that overgrown temple with the big, famous tree growing out of it? That’s Ta Prohm, built for his mother – now nicknamed the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’. Lara Croft was there. Up the road aways on the Grand Circuit is Daddy’s temple, the massive Preah Khan, one of my favorite buildings on site. That features some of those excellent trees as well. If you spent more than a day in Angkor, you’ve seen it. Finally, he constructed his masterpiece – the wondrous Bayon and developed the city of Angkor Thom around it. You definitely know the Bayon – it’s the one with all the faces. Scholars think differently, but I reckon those are the very faces of Jayavarman himself. He wasn’t a shy man.