Lost and found: stunning temples emerging from the jungle
Collected by Bryan Kitch, AFAR Contributor
Mysterious, magisterial, ornate, and beautiful—these stunning temples are both at odds and in complete harmony with their surroundings, emerging dramatically from the jungle. While the artistic and architectural legacy that each of these sacred sites embody was long lost, it must now be conserved—in many ways, the most difficult challenge that these temples have yet faced.
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
The secret to having a good time in Bagan has nothing to do with getting there - all that takes is faith in a Burmese pilot and his ancient aircraft, or an unwavering belief that your 13-hour bus ride from Yangon will actually deliver you to the...
From one temple-top to another: on top of the world in Tikal National Park in northeastern Guatemala. These Maya pyramids (8th century) were the tallest structures built in the Americas until twentieth century skyscrapers arose in New York City....
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
Carretera Federal & Cancún - Chetumal Km 230 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
While not as large as other ancient Mayan cities in the region, Tulum draws in visitors for its stunning setting of centuries-old temples perched on a cliff by the Caribbean Sea. You’ll pass a large market with souvenirs, a casual Mexican...
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
Bonampak, Chis., Mexico
The classic Mayan site of Bonampak, located deep in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico, holds one of the most unlikely and important discoveries in the history of Mayan archaeological investigation. The story of the wall murals is a story of an...
Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia
Spend more time in Cambodia. Making a three day tour to Preah Vihear from Siem Reap qualifies nicely. This World Heritage site has been contested between Thailand and Cambodia for a millennia. Fighting still breaks out making things edgy. We...
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