Set just off the road from the east gate to Angkor Wat to Banteay Kdei, with its five squat brick sanctuaries Prasat Kravan looks like a bit of a drab affair, but the real attraction is within. There’s a large platform on one side and a pond on the other, where you may spot the occasional frog fishing, as we did on our last visit.
Unique for Khmer art, the interior of the sanctuaries contain brick bas reliefs of an outstanding standard. At the time of construction, Khmer brickies didn’t use mortar but a vegetable compound instead. This has allowed the bricks to sit very close together and further accentuates the appeal of the bas reliefs.
If you see the occasional CA (stands for “Conservation Angkor”) on some bricks, you’re looking at one of the bricks that formed a part of the restoration that took place in the late 1960s. The name Prasat Kravan means “Cardomom Sanctuary“, a reference to a large cardomom tree that once grew on the grounds. Conservation and restoration efforts continue.
By Caroline Major
Last updated on 31st January, 2015.