In Photos: Tree VS Temple in Cambodia

by Lindsay Shapka in ,

For hundreds of years, the ancient Khmer rulers put all of their time, and a lot of resources, into filling the jungle with impressive temples that were the seat of both religious and political power in what is now called Cambodia. 

When the kingdom at Angkor finally fell near the end of the 16th century, the temples were deserted, and since then have become completely engulfed by the lush, green jungle. 

Huge trees have wound their way through archways, around sculptures and between pillars. Roots have collapsed towers and have sent saplings up in the most unlikely places, while multicolored moss has created intricate patterns over the grey stone walls

Over time, it seems that the jungle and the temples have come to a beautiful symbiosis.

Though they are ripping the temples apart in areas, the massive trees are simultaneously holding the ancient structures together. Without them, many temple walls — and with them the precious history of this mysterious culture — would have been lost forever.