Angkor Wat, is a Khmer temple inside the archaeological site of Angkor, Cambodia, near the city of Siem Reap. It was built by King Suryavarman II (1113-1150), near Yasodharapura, the capital of the empire. The king ordered the construction of the gigantic building to start at the same time from the four sides, so that the work was completed in less than 40 years. Today it is the largest religious monument in the world. Originally conceived as a Hindu temple, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple in the late twelfth century. Angkor Wat summarizes two main characteristics of Cambodian architecture: the mountain temple that rises inside a moat to symbolize Mount Meru, and the subsequent gallery temples. The temple is shaped like a rectangle, about 1.5 kilometers long from west to east and 1.3 kilometers from north to south; inside the moat that completely surrounds the perimeter wall of 3.6 kilometers, there are three rectangular galleries built one above the other. At the center of the temple are five towers. Unlike many Angkor temples, Angkor Wat is west-oriented; scholars are divided on the meaning of this choice. The most probable hypothesis is that it is a mausoleum, a place where the king could be revered after death. In fact, the main entrance to the west was a custom of the funeral temples while the Hindu temples were oriented to the east. The complex is admired for its grandeur, for the harmony of the architecture, for its large bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas that adorn the walls. During the seventeenth century, Angkor Wat, despite being neglected, was used as a Buddhist temple. Fourteen inscriptions dating back to this period, discovered in the area of Angkor, bear witness to some Japanese Buddhist pilgrims who seem to have established small settlements in the area. At that time, Japanese visitors related the temple to the famous Jetavana garden of the Buddha that was originally located in the Magadha kingdom in India. Angkor Wat became popular in the West only in the mid-nineteenth century thanks to the French naturalist and explorer Henri Mouhot who, after visiting him, published his travel notes, in which he wrote. The temple is a symbol of Cambodia and is a source of great national pride; it was taken into account in the diplomatic relations of Cambodia with France, the United States and Thailand. A representation of Angkor Wat is part of the Cambodian national flags, after the introduction of the first version in 1863. The architecture of Angkor Wat was also on display in the museum of plaster casts by Louis Delaporte, called musée Indo-chinois, which existed in the Parisian building of the Trocadero from about 1880 to the mid 1920s. The splendid artistic legacy of Angkor Wat and other Khmer monuments in the Angkor region led France to adopt Cambodia as a protectorate on 11 August 1863 and invade Siam to take control of the ruins. This led Cambodia to claim the lands located in the northwestern corner of the country that had been under Siamese control (Thailand) since 1351, or according to others since 1431. Cambodia gained independence from France on 9 November 1953 and from that moment he gained control of Angkor Wat. In 1992 the site was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Angkor Wat has become one of the major tourist destinations.