+Timothy Tye

World Travel GuidesUNESCO World Heritage Site Prasat Suor Prat Temple, Angkor

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Prasat Suor Prat is a set of twelve towers located in front of the Terrace of the Elephants, separated from it by the main road that runs northwards from the Bayon to the North Gate of Angkor Thom. The name means "towers of the rope dancers", a modern description that is rooted more in popular belief than fact.

On my first visit to Angkor, I saw that the towers were undergoing restoration. By my second visit, most of the restoration work has been completed, or at least has stopped. Some of these towers are still enforced with wooden beams.

Prasat Suor Prat is a modern name for these twelve towers. It is a romantic name, meaning Towers of the Rope Dancers, and probably bear no resemblance to the truth - though it makes me conjure images of a circus performance with ropes between these towers.

Prasat Suor Prat.

I am not fully clear as to the function of Prasat Suor Prat. According to the 12th Century Chinese envoy Zhou Daguan, legal disputes were settled by placing the contenders in the Prasat Suor Prat towers for a few days. The person to emerge in ill health is considered loser.

Prasat Suor Prat are built of laterite and sandstone. They form a line with six on each side of the royal road leading to the Victory Gate, on the eastern side of Angkor Thom. The towers have windows with balusters on three sides. The entrance opens towards the parade ground facing the Terrace of the Elephants.

From my research, I can say that there is inconclusive evidence as to the actual function of Prasat Suor Prat. Considering their location, they could have been pavillions to view parades that take place at the Royal Square themselves and the Terrace of the Elephant.

Construction Details

Built at the end of the 12th Century
by King Jayavarman II (reigned 1181-1220)

How to reach Prasat Suor Prat

Prasat Suor Prat is located within Angkor Thom, on the right (east) side of the road that runs between the North Gate and the Bayon. All tuk tuk drivers to Angkor should know how to get there - if you find one who doesn't, well, change tuk tuk! If you're on your own, by bicycle or motorcycle, park somewhere under the shade near the food stalls, and do your on foot.

If you need transport, I can recommend the tuk tuk driver who drove me. His name is Mr Han (see contact below), and you can call to see if he is available to take you.

Prasat Suor Prat in a row.

The tower closest to the road is slightly off line from the rest.

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