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Angkor Wat - Panoramic View

90,000 panoramic photos bring to life ancient sites of Cambodia on Google Street View

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Google has brought to life the richness and beauty of more than 100 temples built over five centuries and spanning over 400 square kilometres in Angkor, Cambodia, by making the sites accessible in Google Street View.  Cambodia’s spectacular historical sites, including its most famous temple, Angkor Wat, can now be viewed in minute detail, as viewers can scroll around the ancient city exploring every corner through high-resolution imagery.

Angkor Wat - Google

Every corner of Angkor Wat and surrounding temples can now be explored in Google

Two million people visit the Angkor complex every year, but now many more can experience its beauty. “With more than 90,000 new panoramic images views, we hope Cambodians and others around the world can experience these cultural and archaeological treasures in an entirely new way,” wrote Manik Gupta, Group Product Manager of Google Maps, in a recent press announcement.   “Whether it’s revisiting iconic sites such as Bayon Temple in time for the Khmer New Year or studying the Ramayana’s Battle of Lanka bas relief carvings within Angkor Wat, Street View can help you more easily explore Angkor’s rich heritage.”

Ta Prohn Temple Cambodia

A screen shot from the new Google Street View in Ta Prohn Temple Cambodia

Built between the 9 th and 15 th centuries by Khmer kings, the Angkor region was part of the powerful Khmer Empire, which once included parts of present-day Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The city of Angkor was a city of 1,000,000 people, with a complex irrigation system, paved roads and beautiful buildings, including the spectacular Angkor Wat , an enormous three level pyramid surrounded by water. It was built to represent the ‘home of the gods’, Mount Meru, a mythical sacred mountain in Hindu mythology which is considered to be the residence of the god Brahma and the Devas. The Angkor complex is the largest and most complex known network of monuments ever constructed.

The new feature on Google enables viewers to explore five key sites in Angkor , including Banteay Srei (the "ladies temple"), the only major Angkor temple built in radiant rose-pink sandstone; Angkor Thom, where you can walk along the statue-lined promenade that leads to the soaring gates of the Khmer kingdom’s last famed capital city; Ta Prohm, the mystical tree-covered temple that was used as the location for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Beng Mealea, a mysterious temple once lost in the thick jungle; and Angkor Wat, where you can explore the legendary City of Temples, a thousand-year-old living monument and one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders.

“The temples at Angkor each have a unique story—whether it’s the way they were built, the ancient Khmer cities they sit on, or the artwork they contain,” wrote Manik Gupta.  The new imagery enables viewers to zoom in to view reliefs and carvings in minute detail, including some of the 3000 asparas (heavenly nymphs), who sport 37 different varieties of headdress, as well as the more controversial animal carvings, which have caused much speculation as some appear to bare an uncanny resemblance to dinosaurs.

Mysterious dinosaur relief

Mysterious dinosaur relief viewable in Google Street View

The massive project was accomplished using all the tools available to Google, including Street View cars, Google Trekkers, and tripods to carefully photograph the exteriors and interiors of Angkor’s temples as they stand today.

Technology used by Google Street Map

Technology used by Google to create Street View. Photo source.

“We hope this new imagery will not only let people experience the scale and beauty of Angkor wherever they are, but also demonstrate how technology can change the way cultural treasures are preserved for generations to come,” wrote Gupta.

Highly recommended video released by Google:

Explore the temples of Angkor, Cambodia with Google Maps

Featured image: Angkor Wat. Photo source: Wikipedia

By April Holloway

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