Khmer Empire - History - Yasodharapura — The First City of Angkor

Yasodharapura — The First City of Angkor

Jayavarman II's successors continually extended the territory of Kambuja. Indravarman I (reigned 877 – 889 AD) managed to expand the kingdom without wars, and he began extensive building projects, thanks to the wealth gained through trade and agriculture. Foremost were the temple of Preah Ko and irrigation works. He was followed by his son Yasovarman I (reigned 889 – 915 AD), who established a new capital, Yasodharapura – the first city of Angkor.

The city's central temple was built on Phnom Bakheng, a hill which rises around 60 m above the plain on which Angkor sits. Under Yasovarman I the East Baray was also created, a massive water reservoir of 7.5 by 1.8 km.

At the beginning of the 10th century the kingdom split. Jayavarman IV established a new capital at Koh Ker, some 100 km northeast of Angkor. Only with Rajendravarman II (reigned 944 – 968 AD) was the royal palace returned to Yasodharapura. He took up again the extensive building schemes of the earlier kings and established a series of temples in the Angkor area; not the least being the East Mebon, on an island in the middle of the East Baray, and several Buddhist temples and monasteries. In 950 AD, the first war took place between Kambuja and the kingdom of Champa to the east (in the modern central Vietnam).

From 968 to 1001 AD. reigned the son of Rajendravarman II, Jayavarman V. After he had established himself as the new king over the other princes, his rule was a largely peaceful period, marked by prosperity and a cultural flowering. He established a new capital slightly west of his father's and named it Jayendranagari. It has its state temple, Ta Keo, to the south. At the court of Jayavarman V lived philosophers, scholars and artists. New temples were also established: the most important of these are Banteay Srei, considered one of the most beautiful and artistic of Angkor, and Ta Keo, the first temple of Angkor built completely of sandstone.

After the death of Jayavarman V a decade of conflict followed. Kings reigned only for a few years, and were successively violently replaced by their successors until eventually Suryavarman I (reigned 1010 – 1050 AD) gained the throne. His rule was marked by repeated attempts by his opponents to overthrow him and by military conquests. In the west he extended the kingdom to the modern Lopburi in Thailand, in the south to the Kra Isthmus. At Angkor, construction of the West Baray began under Suryavarman I, the second and even larger (8 by 2.2 km) water reservoir after the Eastern Baray.No one knows if he had children or wives

Read more about this topic:  Khmer Empire, History

Famous quotes containing the word city:

    You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
    Bible: New Testament, Matthew 5:14.