Located in present day Cambodia, 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. One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride. 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.
Angkor Thom is in the Bayon style. This manifests itself in the large scale of the construction, in the widespread use oflaterite, in the face-towers at each of the entrances to the city and in the naga-carrying giant figures which accompany each of the towers.