Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles

Angkor Wat is rightly Cambodia’s most famous historical and religious site, visited by millions every year [4.6million estimated in 2014]. But what is not clear to many until visiting is that Angkor is quite a large area near the city of Siem Reap actually containing many temples, palaces, and other ancient buildings of a wide range of architectural styles spanning several centuries.

Here is a public domain simplified map showing the many major sites near the main complexes of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom:

Karta AngkorWat” by Hobe / Holger Behr – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

An historical periodization of the styles of architecture found in and around Angkor can be a useful reference both to navigating the different eras of sites closely located in the area, as well as placing the temple architecture found around the rest of Cambodia.

The following is our chart based on the periodization of Angkorian Architecture by Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques (Ancient Angkor. River Books. 2006. ISBN 974-8225-27-5) based on the summarized dates in the excellent Wikipedia article about the Architecture of Cambodia.

Periods and styles of Angkorian architecture based on Freeman and Jacques, Ancient Angkor
Periods and styles of Angkorian architecture based on Freeman and Jacques, Ancient Angkor

Here is our second version with the characteristic or eponymous sites added as illustrations (image links to full size):

Illustrated version of the Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles timeline
Illustrated version of the Periodization of Angkorian Architectural Styles timeline

A detailed discussion of Khmer architectural styles and history, of course focusing on major Buddhist sites, can be found in The Golden Lands book.

Comments welcome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *