Travel Diary in Asia; info and video, images and comments, adventures story in Asia. Tips, maps, trek route, geographic and history-cultural info.

Out of Asia

The pictures' album of Mamilu


Cambodia was one of our most exciting trips.

The visit to the magical temples of Angkor in the forest near the straits between claws of enormous secular trees and leaves you breathless.

It was impossible to separate the spectacular view of the monumental Temples by the thought of what had happened there until a few years earlier.

What Cambodia had been under the domination of Kmer Rossi and the dictatorship of Pol Pot.

Everywhere the traces of the recent past appear, and before all the faces of the people.
Angkor is located in the province of Siem Reap, which lies north of Lake Tonle Sap.

It is possible to arrive by plane or boat.
Schedules change often, but there is almost always a daily flight between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

In particular, sophisticated and intellectual beauty of Angkor, there is something profoundly simple, and natural archetype that comes directly to the heart without having to go through your head.

In every stone there is an intrinsic magnitude of which one ends up carrying the small and particular majesty.

You do not need to know that every detail had for its creators a meaning, that every stone and every sculpture, every yard and every spire were onto dowels and majestic mosaic which was to depict the various worlds, including the one above, with at its center that of the mythical Mount Meru.

In fact there is no need to be Hindu or Buddhist to understand.

Just watch and let go to feel the strong impression that at Angkor, in some way, there has already been.

In fact until the last century knew very little of Cambodia.

The Mekong has already been sufficiently explored, but no West had led up to it.

The whole history of the region, moreover, was enveloped in the dense mystery since time immemorial.

Marginalized from India, China and Japan, but protected by the jungle, its mountains and its rivers, the land of kmer had been able to bring up their kingdoms without incurring foreign oppression.

From the 8th to 12th Century AD, Angkor was home of the Kmher, the current population of Cambodia today.

Its borders, referring to the most recent geographic areas from southern Vietnam to Yunan in China to the west and ending at the Bay of Bengal.

When, in 1862, the French naturalist Henri Mouhot, after losing the path happened among the ruins of an immense and wonderful city abandoned, took her to be done to understand what it was as though asking for information to the farmers themselves of that 'area, they had forgotten his origins.
It was one of the most extensive archaeological complex in the world, Angkor was the ancient and noble capital of kmer.

The first study of its ruins was conducted by another French who took advantage, however, to remove a few hundred statues, beginning as an unfortunate habit.

The fame of Angkor, however, remained limited within archaeological circles, and later, when the trip might have been less adventurous, the World War broke out.

In fact, tourism at Angkor is considered a recent event, dating from 1990.

We can remember that the success enjoyed by these beautiful and majestic ruin is unparalleled in the world, statistics indicate that each year the number of visitors increased by over 2100%. (Unfortunately, the thieves are also art and in 1994 only 6000 artifacts are missing).

Like all big cities abandoned and covered by jungle, half of the suggestion is therefore due to its location.

A morbid fascination to see how it comes from the most spectacular products of human civilization, once left to decay can harmonize with nature that gradually integrates them into itself.

For whole Angkor Temples and Reggie are gutted by huge trees that you have literally grown up in, sustaining itself.

Looking for historical references, we find that in 1432 a series of invasions from Thailand forced to abandon the Khmer Angkor.

So no one lived anymore in those places where, for 4 centuries, the Khmer had built hundreds of temples and majestic palaces.

And the forest covered, making them his own.

For the Cambodians, which was passed after a century since the end of Angkor, the past 2-3 generations left no memory of those historical facts that occurred, and these temples so large and surrounded by impenetrable jungle, the legend went.
Very soon so were not considered work of man but of the Gods.

Pisnouka, born of a heavenly dancer and a human being, had been sent to the gods to learn their arts divine.
Seen such temples built by gods and their own and then had a mandate to return between humans and build similar.

Thus arose Angkor.

Among the temples of Angkor is a distinction to the majestic beauty and for the 'grandeur, was the temple of Baphuon.

A Chinese diplomat, Tcheou Tha-Kouan, who visited Angkor during the last years of the 14th century, was able to witness all its wonder at the sight of Bapuon and its fantastic shining copper dome.

Here we could look over the history of the ancient temples of Angkor, and get to recount the events of our times.
At the beginning of this century, to be exact in 1911, when Jean Commaile known French archaeologist, came to Angkor to release specified by the forest and the majestic ancient ruins.

We succeeded and finally riemersero temples and also in a state not particularly compromise.

The bad luck, however, it breaks down again in these places; arrived unusually intense rains that caused landslides and severe damage to deep throughout the area.

Came the Second World War, but especially Commaile died.

Yet fate is repeated, as the temples are again left to themselves.

You arrive until 1955, when Bernard Philipp Grosliher, the new curator of the archaeological zone, decided to return to work on the remains of Baphuon.

One year before other landslides have further complicated the situation so that the reconstruction of the remains was not possible, working on what the area presented in its immediacy.

Grosliher decided to operate in a completely different way, number all the pieces, classified them and began the construction of a puzzle from 303 thousand weaves.
It was the story that is returned.

Began the long and devastating conflict in Vietnam, and Cambodia joined in the terrible vortex that we all know.

The entire archive of Grosliher disappeared, and the map with
the basic instructions to manage the puzzle went lost.

The workers who worked in shipyards became part of the victims of the conflict.

It lost in short, every memory.

Grosliher died in 1985 without having been able to take in hand the progress report.

In 1994 Jaques Dumarcay new French archaeologist, reopened the Baphuon yard and discovered that the basement of the Temple, namely a first part of the work of Grosliher, was in good condition.

The photograph that appears on this page is 2005.

It is representative of current conditions of Baphuon, but at the time, during the past decade, the structure has suffered further damage.

But it is already possible to discern from the base found Dumarcay.

Today the restoration are in full swing and it is to reconstruct a jigsaw puzzle of hundreds of thousands of pieces.

The technique put in place refers to the most advanced computer.

Each piece has been stored in its surfaces imagine a cube with its six sides, to seek, with the use of computers, the other faces that have the structures to fit.

It is expected that the works have to end in 2006 and now the level of restoration is high. At this date, the temple of Baphuon, which is the largest among those of Angkor - 98 meters from the side to a height of about 49 meters, will return to its primordial forms.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian population of those lands are permanently leaving the legend of the Temple.

Even the people in the countryside, during the years of war Pisnouka tells of the divine creator of the Temples, have now realized that they were their fathers to build the magic of Angkor.

The damage that was caused by the Western mentality (first with colonialism, then by communism and now with capitalism) to the ancient traditions and culture of Cambodia is virtually incalculable.

The texts of the last century, describing the land of kmer as a fantastic natural paradise, a gentle and peaceful people, and colorful and fragrant countryside, dotted by rice paddies and agile pagodas, lakes and forests and fairytale.

Siem Reap is on the banks of a large lake where poor people live hours of expedients in modest shacks.

Visiting the lake like other travelers, notammo a little girl of 6-7 years who went to greet tourists in a bowl.

She was friendly, well dressed, kind, greeted by the hand and smiled crafty and it was impossible not to offer a few dollars.

She this, though so small, has understood very well.

We were sure that would come a long way the girl. ;)

The herds of crocodiles are among the resources of the inhabitants of the region of Angkor on the shores of Lake Tonle Sap.
The shop of local handicrafts items pack their products will display in the restaurant Frittomisto.

Between 1974 and 1978 occurred in Cambodia is one of the most ferocious tragedies in the history of humanity.
The kmer were stained red of systematic physical elimination of over one million people (about seven million Cambodians who were) in addition to a high number of invalid because the torture and landmines.
The concentration camp Coehung Ek, 16 km. from Phnom Penh, is destined to become a monument to peace.
In the center of the square have been accumulated the skulls found nell'enorme grave; are some tens of thousands, forming a pyramid 10 meters high.
Only Auschwitz happened something like that.
And 'This is a shame for the West pretended they did not know, some political parties and even helped with financing the dictatorship.
In 1979, the Viet Nam finally did what no one had hitherto had the courage to do, militarily occupied Cambodia and deposed Pol Pot
After 1991 the United Nations mediarono a temporary peace between Pol Pot and his opponents, but soon the fierce red butcher broke those agreements and settled in the north, where it remained hidden until his death in circumstances not yet fully clear, and after which finally ended the nightmare.

Cambodia Kingdom
Reacheanachak Kampuchéa

Area: 181,900 km ²
Population: 12,677,000 (estimated 2003)
Density: ab / Km ² 69

The form of government: Constitutional Monarchy
The Capital: Phnom Penh (980,000 inh.)
Other cities: Battambang 45,000 ab.
Ethnic groups: Khmer 93%, Vietnamese 4.5%, Chinese 2.5%
The countries bordering Thailand, Laos and Vietnam

The main mountains: Phnum Aôral 1775 m.
The main rivers: Mekong 515 Km (cambodian part, total 4544 Km)
The main lakes: Tonle Sap 1855 Km ²
The main islands: Kaoh Kong
Climate: Tropical monsoon

Language: Khmer (official), English and French
Religion: Theravada Buddhist 96%
The currency: Cambodian New Riel