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Notes on the Geography of Cambodia (Angkor): Angkor Wat: Photo 3

world pictures Cambodia (Angkor): Angkor Wat

A few steps closer: the temple lies straight ahead a few hundred yards. The sandstone of the gate is one of the typical materials used at Angkor. Secular buildings at Angkor were of wood and are entirely gone. Important buildings, which is to say religious ones, were built of brick or laterite blocks or this sandstone, which was quarried many miles up on the Siem Reap River and then barged downstream. The roofs--here and throughout--are corbelled: that is, they are neither true arches nor supported by wooden frameworks. Instead, the stone (or brick or laterite) is stepped outward at each layer until finally the two sides meet. Structurally, it's a poor substitute for an arch, which is why many Angkor roofs are in ruin.

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