From the 9th century until the 14th century, it was the center of the Khmer Kingdom.The ruins include temples, dykes, reservoirs and canals. The range from piles of rubble in rice fields to Angkor Wat, which is considered one of the most important and also largest religious monuments in the world.
When it was originally founded, it was a Hindu, but in the 12th century it changed to Buddhist. It was the largest pre-industrial city in the world.
Angkor Wat was never completely abandoned. And it was preserved more than other temples because its moat protected it from the jungle.
Since I had a limited amount of time in Siem Reap and I was traveling alone, I decided to take a small group tour through the temples. I didn't sleep very well during the night, due to rather loud chanting by nearby Buddhist monks and someone crashing through the hallways at 4 AM. I had dark circles to the extreme.
The tour left early in the morning. There were five of us on the tour: Neil from Manchester in England, Emily and Tom from Cornwall, and Nick from Southern California. We visited Angkor Wat first, after a brief foray through some old and smaller ruins.
Headless Buddhas. The heads were sold on the Black Market by the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge was so horrible, destructive and murderous. It's hard to take in.
I will say that Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples were beautiful. It was definitely one of the most incredible places I've ever been.