Angkor Wat

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. Have you ever heard of the ancient temple called Angkor Wat?
  2. Do you know where Angkor Wat is located?
  3. When do you think it was built?
  4. Look at the picture of Angkor Wat. How long do you think it took to build?
  5. What is a World Heritage Site?
  6. Do you know what an archaeologist does?

Vocabulary Preview

  • temple: building used for praying
  • moat: deep wide ditch of water built around a place for protection
  • terraces: levels of sloping lands
  • depict: show
  • conquer: defeat; win a victory over enemies
  • abandon: leave and not plan to return
  • monk: member of a religious group living in a monastery
  • mythology: collection of stories from long ago
  • destination: place where someone is going
  • come across: find by chance

Practice these new vocabulary words here: Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

  1. Angkor Wat is an ancient temple that is located a few miles from the town of Siem Reap, Cambodia, Southeast Asia.
  2. Angkor Wat means "City Temple." It was built in the early 1100s for Suryavarman II, the king of the Khmer Empire, as part of his capital city. The Khmers ruled the area from about AD 800 to 1225. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and took 37 years to build. The huge structure is surrounded by a thick outer wall that is 15 feet high and over 2 miles long. The complex is protected by a moat, which is 600 feet wide.
  3. Angkor Wat is considered to be the most magnificent temple ever built by the Khmers. Made of sandstone, the pyramid-shaped complex has several terraces and small buildings. Five towers rise above these. The walls are covered with beautiful and intricate carvings and depict Hindu mythology, especially stories about the god Vishnu.
  4. The Thai Empire conquered the Khmers in the 1400s and the city of Angkor was abandoned. In about 1500, Buddhist monks began to use the temple (and still do today). Few other people knew about it, but there were rumors of an abandoned city. These rumors were proven true when French missionaries came across Angkor Wat in 1860. A French botanist named Henri Mahout started restoration work on the temple. The other buildings in the city had been taken over by thick jungle.
  5. Today, Angkor Wat is a symbol of Cambodia. Its image is on the Cambodian flag and in 1992 the United Nations declared it a World Heritage Site. It is now Cambodia's most popular tourist destination. Damage from visitors has been kept to a minimum and foreign government-sponsored archaeologists continue to restore it.


True or False. Read the statements below.

  1. Angkor Wat means ancient temple.
  2. Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century.
  3. When Angkor Wat was built, it was dedicated to a Buddhist monk.
  4. The Thai Empire expanded the city of Angkor.
  5. Tourists have destroyed Angkor Wat.

Post Reading Questions

  1. Where is Angkor Wat located?
  2. When was Angkor Wat build and for whom was it built?
  3. Briefly describe Angkor Wat.
  4. To whom was Angkor Wat dedicated?
  5. How was the structure of Angkor Wat protected?
  6. What happened when the Thai Empire conquered the Khmers?
  7. Who was Henri Mahout?
  8. How has Angkor Wat become a symbol of Cambodia?
  9. Have you ever visited a World Heritage Site?
  10. Do you think it is important to restore and preserve our historic sites?
  11. What is the most popular tourist destination in your country?
  12. What is the most magnificent structure you have ever seen?

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