This is the first realisation
in sandstone of such a structure (generally dedicated to
deified nobility) after the temple of Bakheng that crowned
a natural hill serving as its core. Ta Keo is constructed
with much more care in the systematic cutting and placing
of enormous blocks of stone, the arrangement of which can
be viewed easily, due to the absence of almost any moulding
The reason for this temple remaining unfinished is unknown
for it was abandoned soon after the start of its ornamentation.
By these remaining fragments, this temple dates to the end
of 10th century and the early years of the 11th. Inscriptions
engraved on the door jambs of the eastern gopuras, relating
to donations made to the temple (but not to its foundation)
date from 1007.
Originally, the access to the monument was from the east
across a moat by means of a paved causeway, preceded by
lions in the style of the Bayon and lined with bornes. Some
500m further to the east is the bank of the Eastern Baray.
The external enclosure wall forms a rectangle of 120m by
100m and is in sandstone on a laterite base. The second
terrace dominates the first with an imposing moulded laterite
base and four axial sandstone gopuras. From the courtyard,
standing in front of the three tiers that form the 14m high
central pyramid, one is left with a powerful impression.
The upper platform is square and almost entirely occupied
by the quincunx of towers in their unfinished form. These
open to the four cardinal points by projecting vestibules.
The corner towers are set on plinths and are dominated by
the central tower set on an elevated base with the development
of its porticoes and frontons adding to its grandeur. Fragments
of pedestals and of lingas are found both in and around