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Sacred Places or Objects

Identify any places or objects that are sacred to people of a particular nationality or culture? What significance do these places or things hold in the minds and emotions of the people? Do these people connect a story to any of the sites or settings that you have identified? Select one or two and discuss them.

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The ruins of Angkor Wat in the jungles of Siem Reap, Cambodia is just among the close to 40 ancient temple complexes scattered in about 1000 square km. of jungle, villages and urbanscape. The Angkor Temple Complex is among the most renowned and celebrated in the world, protected as a Unesco World Heritage Site and visited, annually by millions from all over the world. Reintroduced to popular culture via its appearance in the 2001 Angelina Jolie starrer Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Angkor Wat is considered to be the 'Jewel' of the Angkorian Complex built in the early 12th century as the State Temple and Capital for the God-King Suryavarman II. The Angkorian Khmer Empire held Hinduism as its state religion and the pantheon and divine mythology of the Hindus held central importance in the Suryavarman II's Angkor. The Temple itself was dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and is seen as the most perfect representation of classical Khmer Architecture. It follows the basic plans of 'Sacred' Khmer Architecture - it has a 'temple mountain' in the center surrounded by temple galleries, walls covered in stories from the Hindu mythology made to life in stone by the most talented of Khmer stone sculptors and masons. Angkor Wat's design was meant to represent Mt. Meru, home of the Devas in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Completely surrounded by a deep and wide moat, it is on an island which, at times of enemy attacks helps in its defence. The central Quincunx towers are ...