via BBC Travel, 17 July 2020: The story behind the miniature Angkor Wat attraction in Siem Reap.
Inside a cottage courtyard, architect and sculptor Dy Proeung has painstakingly recreated elaborate models of Angkor Wat’s rose-pink sandstone towers, soaring pediments and defensive moats, all built to scale. The inspired museum-residence represents Proeung’s life’s work, and the story behind its creation is just as remarkable as the miniature Temple City itself.
As a young man, Proeung was enamoured by Angkor Wat and drew detailed drawings of the temple complex. After graduating from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, he landed his dream job working with the Angkor Conservation. Then in 1975, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge came to power, and for the next four years, the totalitarian regime executed one of the bloodiest genocides of the 20th Century, killing as many as two million people. Because Proeung was considered an artist and intellectual, his life was at risk.
Rather than burn his drawings and other evidence of his identity to protect himself during home raids by the regime, Proeung hid the documents deep in the forest behind the cottage where his mini-Angkor Wat museum now stands. Proeung was eventually imprisoned, but escaped execution thanks to an intervention by a family member who worked for the regime. Once the Khmer Rouge was toppled in 1979, Proeung dug up his scale drawings of Angkor Wat and set about meticulously building his miniature city bit by bit for roughly 20 years.
Source: Cambodia’s ‘hidden’ Angkor Wat