The Lost City: Siem Reap – The Metropolis that Eventually Birthed Angkor

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Cambodia is a mysterious land with a lot of history, with a heritage that goes back many centuries, and possibly millennia. Presently, the ruins of an ancient metropolis were uncovered.

The Expedition

The existence of an ancient city that predates Angkor was known about for many decades, but no one could penetrate the thick forest cover to discover its location. It all started when the city’s location was discovered through LIDAR.

Charles J Sharp, Angkor-Wat-from-the-airCC BY-SA 3.0

What is LIDAR?

This is essentially a survey method involving lasers that has proven to be particularly effective where forests are concerned since it can break through the tiny gaps between the leaves of the forest cover, and scan for solid surfaces below.


With a name that means, ‘Mountain of the Great Indra’, the ancient city of Mahendraparvata was finally discovered through the archaeological work of Jean-Baptiste Chevance and Damian Evans in 2012. The analysis concluded that the city is 350 years older than Angkor Wat.


Amazingly, the ancient city is situated quite close to civilisation so to speak, and under two hours away from Angkor Wat, as well as many luxury hotels Siem Reap has to offer such as Anantara Angkor Resort. It is within the Phnom Kulen National Park.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

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