Angkor Thom (Big Angkor) is a 3km2 walled and
moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian empire.
After Jayavarman VII recaptured the Angkorian capital from the Cham
invaders in 1181, he began a massive building campaign across the
empire, constructing Angkor Thom as his new capital city. He
began with existing structures such as
Baphuon and Phimeanakas
and built a grand enclosed city around them, adding the outer wall/moat
and some of Angkor's greatest temples including his state-temple,
Bayon, set at the center of the city.
There are five entrances (gates) to the city, one for each cardinal
point, and the victory gate leading to the Royal Palace area.
Each gate is crowned with 4 giant faces. The South Gate is often
the first stop on a tour.