The Ruins of Pre Rup

Pre Rup is an ancient Khmer temple in Angkor, Cambodia, just outside Siem Reap. It was built about 961 AD and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Not much is known about this temple, but the common belief is that this temple was used for funeral ceremonies. “Pre Rup” translates to “turn the body”, which coincides with ancient Khmer funerary practices of rotating a person’s ashes during the funeral ceremony.

When you first arrive at Pre Rup, this is what greets you. From a distance is just looks like a pile of disordered rubble, but as you get closer you can see the detail and precision that went into creating the walls and towers.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

On all four sides of Pre Rep are series of aligned doorways. These are believed to have once held elaborately carved stone pyramid-style arches.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

The use of this water cistern is debated by scholars. Some think it was used in funeral ceremonies while others think it was a base for a bronze statue. To the left you can see a typical setup for cloth paintings. Vendors that sell painted cloth are at each of the temples and they come up with some really fascinating pieces.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

Pre Rup was built using laterite and brick. Laterite is a form of clay that is rich in iron and aluminum and has a rusty red hue because of the iron oxides in the soil. This clay is found primarily in wet tropical areas that have high temperatures, making it an abundant substance in Cambodia.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

At the top of the central staircase you can see the remnants of two dragon statues.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

Due to vandalism, most of the dragon statues at the Angkor era temples are missing their faces.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

This structure is commonly called a ‘library’, but it is not believed that actual manuscripts or any type of written work was housed here. The true purpose is unknown, but it is believed that these types of structures were a form of religious shrine.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

When we were walking around one of the galleries down there, I didn’t lean down far enough when going through a doorway. Cambodian people are pretty short now, but they must have been a lot shorted several thousand years ago. I smacked my head pretty good on the arch and had to sit down a minute. Troy thought it was the funniest thing in the world and took to miming me every time we went through a doorway for the rest of the day.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

Each temple in Cambodia still functions as an operating temple. These buddhas and flowers are taken care of and prayed to daily by devout parishioners.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

As we left Pre Rup, we were treated the a lovely view of one of the man-made lakes that used to feed into the moat that is no longer around Pre Rup.

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

Pre Rup, Ruins, Angkor, Temple, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Khmer, Rajendravarman, pyramid, funeral, mausoleum, ancient

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22 Replies to “The Ruins of Pre Rup”

  1. Lyn Barden (@TerraFirmaLyn)

    Stunning photos. My one day on tour when I couldn’t make it up the steps (asthma attack) so only viewed it from the outside. Pre Rup is quite different to the other temples we visited in Angkor. Thanks for sharing – I know what I missed out on!

    Reply
  2. tammileetips

    Your photos turned out amazing. I love to visit ancient sites like this they are so much fun to explore and see the history of the area. Temples are one of my favorites to visit when we travel.

    Reply
  3. Ricci

    WOW!! I would love to see ruins like this one day!! Your pictures are gorgeous and I can’t wait to go one day!!

    Reply
  4. Alli

    Your photos are amazing! It’s so sad that vandals have stolen the faces of most of the dragons. When I first clicked on the page I thought the title was “Ruins of Pre Nups.” I laughed and realized I needed my glasses. So glad it was Ruins of Pre Rup!

    Reply
  5. Rosey

    I wanted to visit there for the longest, very much so…until very recently. Now we’re staying close to home for a family emergency, but someday… The pics are awesome.

    Reply
  6. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I have never even heard of these ruins before, but WOW! Your photos are absolutely stunning and I would love to get there to explore them myself someday.

    Reply
  7. tanjtrubiano

    I love our visit to Cambodia with the husband. We came when it was hot and humid, it was just soooo hard to walk around. I have drank more than 2 bottles of 1L water just walking around. Lol!

    Reply

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