Angkor Preah Khan
The Preah Khan :
(sacred sword in Khmer) was a Buddhist monastic complex called Jayaçri (glorious victory in Sanskrit) in honour of the victory over the Chams of Jayavarman VII who erected it in 1191. This "flat" temple, much less impressive than the mountain temples, is surrounded by a first enclosure measuring approximately 800 m by 600 m, itself bordered by moats more than 20 m wide. The pavements that cross them are, as at Angkor Thom, adorned with balustrades composed of fabulous giants (deva) holding a nāga. Originality, the base of these pavements is carved with bas-reliefs.
This large space was probably once occupied by many dwellings mainly made of wood. The only witnesses are a stopover lodge on the side of the east access road and a basin dug in the northwest corner.
In the centre, the temple, surrounded by a 210 m x 160 m perimeter wall with large entrance pavilions at the four cardinal points, the most complex of which is the eastern one, preceded by a large access terrace.
The temple enclosure includes many ancillary buildings, including a "dancer's room", basins, "libraries", "cloisters" interconnected by galleries that must be crossed to reach the sanctuary enclosure, itself a dense interlacing of galleries and colonnaded rooms surrounding the central tower-sanctuary.
The site served as a temporary city during the construction of Ankgor Thom and the monastery was completed after Jayavarman VII moved into his new palace (1190).