Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 1The temple dating from 1187 originally was called Rajavihara, meaning “King’s monastery” in Sanskrit. The modern Khmer name “Ta Prohm” means “Old Brahma”. Ta Prohm was even used as a location in the film Tomb Raider.

The early French archaeologists intentionally left it partially unrestored. This is why until the present day enormous strangler figs (Ficus gibbosa) and even huger Thitpok  trees (Tetrameles nudiflora) grow from the towers and halls, spreading their gigantic roots over intricately carved stone, thus making Ta Prohm an icon of excellent architecture reconquered by the force of nature. This massive combination of art and vegetation is unique in the world, and one of the impressions nobody will ever forget. 

Ta Prohm was a monastery of enormous dimensions, 65 hectare, the size of some contemporary whole cities in contemporary Europe. According to a temple inscription 12,640 people lived here. Thousands of them were monks, but most of the inhabitants were laymen as supporters, including 615 female dancers. The monastery was enormously wealthy, as it had vast stores of silks, pearls, jewels and gold and was in charge of 3400 villages. It was a state within the state.

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