Sambo Prei Kuk

Sambor Prei Kuk (Khmerប្រាសាទសំបូរព្រៃគុក – Prasat Sambor Prei Kuk) is an archaeological site in Cambodia located in Kampong Thom Province, 30 km (19 mi) north of Kampong Thom, the provincial capital, 176 km (109 mi) east of Angkor and 206 km (128 mi) north of Phnom Penh. The now ruined complex dates back to the Pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom (late 6th to 9th century), established by king Isanavarman I as central royal sanctuary and capital, known then as Isanapura (Khmerឦសានបុរៈ – Isan borak).[1][2] In 2017, Sambor Prei Kuk was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3]

Located on the Eastern bank of the Tonle Sap lake, close to the Sen River, the central part of Sambor Prei Kuk is divided into three main groups. Each group has a square layout surrounded by a brick wall. The structures of the overall archaeological area were constructed at variable times: the southern and north groups (7th century) by Isanavarman I, who is considered a possible founder of the city[4] and the central group (later date).

The buildings of Sambor Prei Kuk are characteristic of the Pre-Angkorean period with a simple external plan. The principal material is brick, but sandstone is also used for certain structures.[5] Architectural features include numerous prasats, octagonal towers, shiva lingams and yonis, ponds and reservoirs, and lion sculptures. Sambor Prei Kuk is located amidst mature sub-tropical forests with limited undergrowth. The area has been mined and could still contain unexploded ordnance.[6]

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