Angkor Wat - the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World contains the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat's rising series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors (2 million tourists last year).
Angkor Wat lies 7 kilometres north of the modern town of Siem Reap. The outer wall 4.5 m high encloses a space of 820,000 square metres (203 acres). Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
The temple itself represents Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Most of the visible areas are of sandstone blocks with typical decorative elements: devatas (or apsaras), bas-reliefs, and on pediments extensive garlands and narrative scenes. There are miles of reliefs illustrating scenes from Indian literature including unicorns, griffins, winged dragons pulling chariots as well as warriors following an elephant-mounted leader and celestial dancing girls with elaborate hair styles. Since the 1990s, Angkor Wat has seen continued conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism.