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When famous French archaeologist and explorer Etienne Aymonier visited Surin town at the end of the 19th century, he found a collection of bamboo huts on a sandy knoll surrounded by orchards and gardens. He also found the layout of what had clearly been an important Angkor period settlement, with two large enclosure palisades and a wide moat surrounding a square citadel with four entrance gates.
Indeed the local name for Surin at that time was Banteay Srok — “Citadel of the Region” or “Regional Fortress” in Khmer — and a rather melodramatic local saying was, “If Surin shall fall then so shall Khorat!” If not a major urban site, as the lack of temple ruins would seem to indicate, Surin was at least once an important Angkor military base.
With the decline of the Khmer empire, some cities such as Angkor Thom, Banteay Chmar and Beng Melea were completely abandoned, while the more robust regional centres such as Phimai, Lopburi and Khorat continued to prosper under Thai control. Surin seems to have fallen between the two, just clinging on to avoid the “lost city” category but reverting to an unimportant ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)
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