Angkor Wat

23 Jun, 2022 950 History of Asia

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the largest and arguably the most astonishing religious structure on Earth, built for Suryavarman II in the 12th Century in modern-day Cambodia. It is said to have more stone in it than the Great Pyramid of Giza, and much of the surface is intricately carved and remarkably well preserved. For the last 900 years Angkor Wat has been a centre of religion, whether Hinduism, Buddhism or Animism or a combination of those, and a source of wonder to Cambodians and visitors from around the world.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Piphal Heng No other episodes
    Postdoctoral scholar at the Cotsen Institute and the Programme for Early Modern Southeast Asia at UCLA
  • Ashley Thompson No other episodes
    Hiram W Woodward Chair of Southeast Asian Art at SOAS University of London
  • Simon Warrack No other episodes
    A stone conservator who has worked extensively at Angkor Wat

Reading list

  • Special Section: new discoveries at Angkor Wat, Angkor
    R. Brotherson ( 2015)
  • The Evolution of Agro-Urbanism: A Case Study from Angkor, Cambodia
    Alison K. Carter and others ( 2021)
  • The Khmer Did Not Live by Rice Alone: Archaeobotanical Investigations at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm
    Cristina Cobo Castillo and others ( 2020)
  • Angkor and the Khmer Civilization
    Michael D. Coe and Damian Evans (Thames & Hudson, 2018) Google Books →
  • Angkor: An Introduction
    George Coedes (Oxford University Press, 1963) Google Books →
  • A Record of Cambodia's Land and Customs
    Zhou Daguan (trans. Solang Uk and Beling Uk) (New Generation Publishing, 2010)
  • Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation, 1860-1945
    Penny Edwards (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Angkor Wat: A Transcultural History of Heritage
    M. Falser (De Gruyter, 2020) Google Books →
  • Ancient Angkor
    Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques (River Books, 2009) Google Books →
  • Centralized Power/Decentralized Production? Angkorian Stoneware and the Southern Production Complex of Cheung Ek, Cambodia
    Peter Grave and others ( 2021)
  • Form, Structure and Long-Term Angkorian Urbanism: A View from the Kok Phnov Site (9th-10th Century CE)
    Piphal Heng and others ( 2022)
  • Temples of Cambodia: The Heart of Angkor
    Helen Ibbotson Jessup (River Books, 2011) Google Books →
  • Of Gods, Kings and Men: The Reliefs of Angkor Wat
    Thomas S. Maxwell (Silkworm Books, 2007) Google Books →
  • Angkor: Exploring Cambodia's Sacred City
    Theresa McCullough, Stephen A. Murphy, Pierre Baptiste, and Thierry Zephir (eds.) (Asian Civilisations Museum, 2018) Google Books →
  • Engendering the Buddhist State: Territory, Sovereignty and Sexual Difference in the Inventions of Angkor
    Ashley Thompson (Routledge, 2016) Google Books →
  • Sacred Angkor: Carved Reliefs Of Angkor Wat
    Vittorio Roveda (River Books, 2001) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0018hd7

Episode page:

Auto-category: 959.6 (Cambodia and Laos)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Early in the 12th century, Suriobaman II commissioned Angkor Wat in modern-day Cambodia.