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Senanque Abbey

Senanque Abbey Near Gordes

Near Gordes, Provence, France

Sénanque Abbey is a working Cistercian abbey near the charming hilltop village of Gordes in Provence, south of France.

This is undoubtedly one of the most photographed places in the region, so it will be crowded at most times should you want to visit – especially when the lavender is in bloom.

angkor wat buddhist temple

Buddhist Temple

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Three monks in conversation at the entrance of an Angkor Wat Buddhist temple near Siem Reap.

It’s extraordinary how these monuments have survived so well for several centuries under the encroachment of the jungle. Restoration to certain badly damaged parts of the complex continues to this day.


angkor wat temple images

Looking towards Buddha

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Two little Cambodian children stare into history as they gaze at a Buddha statue in an adjacent complex.

With very warm daily temperatures in this part of the world, many children will play inside among the temple structures to remain cool.


angkor wat temple buddha

Boy and Buddha

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

A Buddha towers above a small boy who assists his seniors with the preparation of worship ceremonies inside an Angkor Wat temple.

There is such a feeling of calmness and serenity surrounding this place which leaves a befitting memory to those who experience it. The wonderment of the construction and detail of the carvings is also a joy to behold.


cambodian apsara dancers

Cambodian Apsara Dancers

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Within the great Angkor Wat temple complex, these Cambodian Apsara dancers display their art for visitors. Over a million people a year visit Siem Reap and the surrounding area to see these extraordinary monuments that have been resurrected from the jungle.

Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings according to Indian mythology. They are youthful and elegant and are excellent in the art of dancing.

angkor wat temple images

Lighting the Incense

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Inside the great Angkor Wat temple complex beneath one of the many Buddha shrines, a woman prepares a fire to light incense sticks for those wanting to worship.

The experience of peace and serenity surrounding this wonderful place are enjoyed by over a million people per year. It is thought that a cap on visitor numbers may be introduced in the coming years.


angkor wat temple trees

Reach for the Sky

Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

These 15th-century temples of Ta Prohm were so well built that even after many centuries in the jungle they still stand today. Trees grow out of the ruins as their extraordinary root structures seek new gripping points wherever possible.

Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument, which includes temples, reservoirs, and canals. The website ‘World Archaeology’ describes Angkor Wat as “the most extensive urban complex in the pre-industrial world.


angkor wat tree

Historic Roots

Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century, the temple of Ta Prohm (the modern name of the temple at Angkor in Siem Reap Province) was abandoned and neglected for centuries.

When conservation and restoration of the temples of Angkor began in the early 21st century, it was decided that Ta Prohm would be left mainly as it had been found, as it was the one which had best merged with the jungle, without becoming part of it.

This tree soars skywards while the roots maintain their reptilian-like grip on the beautifully carved temple structures below.

angkor wat tree roots

A Lattice of Life in Ruins

Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The power of nature combined with the extraordinary building structures enable scenes like this all over the Angkor Wat temples complex. The roots of mainly fig trees bid to consume the efforts of these manmade structures.

However, this “Great City” of Angkor Thom was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII still stands tall and fights back the jungle encroachment.

glendalough monastery ireland

Glendalough Monastery in Ireland

Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough means ‘Valley of two lakes’. It’s a glacial valley which is renowned for an Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by the monk, St Kevin.

The 30 metre tower is built of mica-slate interspersed with granite and with an entrance 3.5 metres from the base, which would have helped in its security from marauders. Round towers were landmarks for approaching visitors, and built as bell towers, but also served as places of refuge in times of attack.

what is the rock of cashel

Heavens Gate

Co. Tipperary, Ireland

View from the ancient Rock of Cashel, which was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster (an Irish province) for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion.

In 1101, the King of Munster donated his fortress on the Rock to the Catholic Church. The picturesque complex has an extraordinary character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of medieval architecture and Celtic art to be found anywhere in Europe. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

pictures of irish cottages

Irish Cottage at Twilight

Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Old stone cottages are a rare sight in Ireland nowadays. Most have been demolished or fallen into disrepair. This wonderful example is located on Mannin Bay near Ballyconneely in the south western part of the Connemara region in the West of Ireland.

On this glorious summer evening the farmers were out making hay in the old traditional way, building haycocks by hand with pitchforks!

Angkor Wat Buddha

Angkor Wat Buddha Statue

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, or ‘temple city’ as it means, is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. The Hindu temple was originally built as a dedication to the god Vishnu, and was later converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century, where statues of Buddha were added to further enrich its artwork.

This god is located within the upper level of the main temple which is accessed by a steep stone staircase and the views of the surrounding area are breathtaking.



angkor thom faces

Angkor Thom Faces

Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This is one of the stone faces at the South Gate of the Angkor Temples and is in itself just one of the five main gates into the ancient Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom literally means “Great City”, and it covers an area of 9 sq km. It was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire being established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII.

At the centre of the city is Jayavarman’s state temple, the magnificent Bayon.

angkor wat temple images

Ta Keo Temple, Angkor Wat

Ta Keo Temple, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Ta Keo was possibly the first temple to be built by the Khmers entirely of sandstone. It’s a massive five-layered pyramid which rises 22m (72ft) from ground level.

It was the state temple of Jayavarman V, who as a ten year old boy succeeded his father, Rajendravarman, to the throne in 968. During the early part of his reign times were turbulent and the court officials dominated the royal political scene. However, when he was aged seventeen, he began the vast construction of his own state temple, Ta Keo.


angkor wat pictures national geographic

Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat

Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

In contrast to the grand sprawl of the Angkor Wat complex, Bayon was at the heart of the what was the largest known settlement complex of the pre-industrial world. It’s known that the temple once consisted of over 200 smiling stone faces carved into the 50 towers. Today only 37 towers remain.

This stunning and compact temple is located just a few miles from the Cambodian town of Siem Reap.