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30 of the most beautiful places in the world

By: Melissa Breyer on July 8, 2014, 9:01 a.m.
Ta Prohm Angkor Wat

Photo: Jerome Stubbs/Shutterstock

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Angkor Wat

Nestled in the jungles of Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat comprises 155 square miles of what UNESCO calls one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. The site was the capital of the Khmer Kingdom, and with its beautifully ornamented temples, hydraulic structures and urban planning, it represents an impressive range of Khmer art from the 9th to 14th centuries. But beyond the beauty of the monuments in general, one of the most striking sights to behold is the way in which the jungle is slowly reclaiming the temple of Ta Prohm. While the other monuments have been protected from the clutches of arboreal exuberance, archeologists have left Ta Prohm to fend for itself. As a result, visitors are graced with the opportunity to see the incredible power of nature. In the contest between architecture and trees, the trees are winning.