Sambo Preykuk Temples
Sambo Preykuk is a cultural and historical site located in Sambo village, Sambo commune, Prasat Sambo district, about 25 kilometers northeast of KampongThom provincial town. The site was once an old capital named Isanapura and a religious center for the worship of Shiva Brahmanism.
Many temples were built in Sambo Preykuk during the reign of King Isanavarman I (AD 616-635) in the 7th century. The temples of Sambo Preykuk constructed of solid brick, laterite and sandstone and decorated by bas-reliefs. The lintel, pillars and the door frames are all made of sandstone.
So far, 140 temples have been discovered in the forest. Sambo Preykuk temples are divided into four main groups:
The Central Temple
The central temple is called Tor temple, or the lion temple. There are sealed doors on three sides and a real door that opens on the north side. On each side is a set of stairs between two statues of kneeling lions. There are a number of small temples west of lion temple. The lion temple was built in 9th century.
The Northern Temple
The northern temples are called mid-Sambo temples and are surrounded by many small temples.
The Sothern Temples
The Southern temples are called Yeay Poan temples. They, too, are surrounded by many temples. There are two ramparts, which the inner rampart has four gopuras on each side. This site was a former capital.
Kraol Romeas Temples
Kraol Romeas temples are located about 2 kilometers north of Sambo Preykuk. All were built of brick, except the temple to the west, which is made of laterite.
To conserve the temples, three areas are designated as protected sites for the purpose of conserving the temples. They are marked as follows:
- First Area: the first area covers 30 meters outside the rampart.
- Second Area: the second area covers 300 meters outside the first area.
- Third Area: the third area covers 1,500 meters outside the second area.