Angkor Wat: Welcome To The World’s First Super City…

If you’ve ever been to the Khmer architectural wonders at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you’ll know that you need to be super-organised to see the different sites arrayed near the Tonle Sap lake.

You’ll be up early for sunrise at Angkor Wat, and after the journey to the Bayon at Angkor Thom, it’s onto temples further afield by bicycle or tuk tuk. New research by the Greater Angkor Project at the University of Sydney in Australia has now revealed that the size of the urban sprawl surrounding the temple at Angkor Wat is actually ten times larger than previously thought. The combination of aerial photography, on the ground research, and radar has revealed that the ancient conurbation covered nearly 3000 sq km. Almost 100 new temple sites have been discovered, and it’s now estimated the overall population of the area may have topped one million between the 9th and 16th centuries.

Mind you, if you’ve visited the rapidly expanding town of Siem Reap recently, you may think that a similar number is sometimes approached during the tourist season.

Thanks to dragon caiman on Flickr for the great shot of monks at Angkor Wat.