Angkor City of Siem Reap, the first rank most popular city in Asia and the seond rank most popular city of the world in 2015, is the ancient capital of Angkor Khmer Empire and the largest ancient city in the world during the flourish time of this kingdom. There used to be thousand of temples built in the city and around the areas with the modern irrigation available for residents in this city. It was estimated more than 1 millions living there in the north of Tonle Sap Lake (Great Lake in South East Asia) before the collapse in the early of 15th century.
Golden tower was shining during the visit of Zhou DaQuan, the famous writer from ancient kingdom in China today. People living along the river showed their daily routines such as swimming, bathing, riding boat, etc. Agriculture was actively done by local residents for rice and other crops. Daily businesses of local residents showed up along with foreign trader such as Chinese and other ethnic people around the area. Women wore the special jewelry such as diamond, gold, silver, gems... Royal family went out with many people following them for protection and local residents had to show their respect when they got across. There were many doctors, royal dancers, army, sellers, buyers, farmers, fortune tellers, waiters and landlords.
The two most famous temples today are Angkor Wat Temple and Angkor Thom Temple known as Bayon Temple. It's very long history to talk about them that alert about the two large scale urban area inside Angkor City. Angkor Wat Temple used to be the first city development of Angkor that thousands of people living next to it depends on the farming. Later, city expansion was done to the north for more protection strategy and the larger area for the agriculture and household settled. More and more people came to the city similar to current situation of Phnom Penh city getting more people from day to day. Capital residents lived comfortably and got more access to the infrastructure linking to main cities throughout the empire like Nokor Reachseyma, Sokhotey, Prey Nokor, Kanchanakborey, Lop Borey, Nokor Sreythommareach, Reach Borey, Ayuthea, Khemarath, Champasak, Sombor Preykuk, Battambang, Sorin, Kok Khan, Bachem Borey, Chan Borey, Steung Chrov, Nokor Neayok, Or keo, Vieng Chan, Luang Preahbong, Nokor Sour, Nokor Phnom, Sangkeak, etc.
Being destroyed several times until Khmer army gained power again during Long Vek era, Angkor City was renamed as Siem Reap (The loss of Siam Troop in the battle field) after victory of Khmer over the invader, Siam troops in the early of 16th century. For nearly several decades that this city flourished again with thousand of people came back for Buddhism practice in the area, especially Angkor Wat Temple. However, this city was invaded again and controlled for short period of time by Siam troops as they raid and destroyed Long Vek capital completely in the end of 16th century. Millions of Khmer people were killed and transferred to Siam gaining territory during the collapse of Angkor City and Long Vek City totally at least more than 1 millions flowing into Siam and absorbed to this new kingdom as Siam people mixed with Tai tribe and other Siam people in the area (Khmer, Mon, and other ethnic groups) given the next generation, Thai people today.
It's so happy to hear that this city gaining more popular about the ancient capital structure and temples in the world record for best destination access by tourists around the globe. Even most of the infrastructure was destroyed, the remaining building still stands for its pride of the ancient people. "What destroys you making you stronger!"
By: POK Panhavuth