18 au 22/4 – Siem Reap et les temples d’Angkor

  • Les temples d’Angkor

Non, je ne vous énumérerai pas tous les temples que nous avons visités pendant 4 jours complets et je vous épargnerai la description détaillée de chacun d’entre eux ! ouf, vous l’avez échappé belle !!! Avec l’aide de Samet, notre guide pour l’ensemble de ces sites, nous découvrons la grandeur de la civilisation khmère.

Nous avions peur d’être un peu lassés par les visites successives de  ces temples, mais chacun présente une architecture particulière et dégage une atmosphère bien spécifique et en dépit de la fatigue et d’une chaleur implacable (autour de 40°), nous ne regrettons pas d’y avoir consacré tout ce temps. De nombreux sites ont été restaurés, ou sont en cours de restauration avec l’aide de fonds étrangers – dont la France – mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire car le Cambodge compte plusieurs centaines de temples historiques.

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La période d’Angkor s’étend de 802 à 1432. L’empire khmer était alors  puissant et étendu; chaque dieu-roi (représentant terrestre du dieu hindou Shiva) a voulu marquer son empreinte en construisant des sanctuaires tous plus grandioses les uns que les autres. Les maisons et bâtiments publics de l’époque, construits en bois, ont disparu. Seuls ont survécu les édifices sacrés, construits en brique et en pierre, et classés au patrimoine mondial depuis 1992. Depuis des siècles – et jusqu’à une période très récente – ces édifices ont été l’objet de destructions, reconstructions, pillages…Religions hindouiste et bouddhiste se sont succédées, chacune voulant effacer les traces de la précédente…De nombreuses sculptures sont en partie découpées, les “morceaux” étant “partis” vers des pays étrangers pour y être vendus ! Les éléphants n’ont plus de trompe, les lions ont perdu leur tête…Nombre d’objets d’art ont aussi disparu. Afin d’enrayer ce pillage massif, la plupart des statues originales ou objets précieux sont maintenant mis à l’abri et nous n’en verrons donc que des copies (certains originaux sont cependant visibles au musée national de Phnom Penh ou au musée Guimet à Paris).

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Mais la magie des lieux est toujours là. On reste stupéfait par l’architecture et la grandeur des bâtiments où cours et galeries entourent une cour centrale. On s’émerveille devant la finesse des sculptures ou des bas-reliefs qui racontent la religion hindoue et les guerres. Bernard est je crois tombé amoureux des sculptures de danseuses Apsara…

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Nous avons eu la chance de visiter Angkor Vat et Angkor Thom – deux sites majeurs – en fin de journée, sous une belle lumière douce.

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Et que dire de ces temples où la jungle a repris ses droits ? de vrais décors de films…c’est d’ailleurs dans l’un de ceux-ci, à Beng Melea que Jean-Jacques Annaud a tourné son film “les deux frères”.

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  • Et à part les temples ?

Il faut savoir que la culture cambodgienne traditionnelle a été presque anéantie par les Khmers rouges. Les nouvelles générations se réapproprient peu à peu les savoir-faire des anciens. Des “chantiers écoles” enseignent la sculpture sur bois ou sur pierre à de jeunes cambodgiens issus de milieux défavorisés. De même une ferme séricole (créée à l’initiative de la France qui s’est retirée du projet lorsque la ferme est devenue économiquement autonome) enseigne toutes les étapes de la fabrication de la soie : culture des mûriers, élevage des vers, teinture et tissage. Tout le travail est réalisé manuellement, dans des conditions parfois difficiles : ici, pas de syndicats ni de CHSCT !

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Nous avons pu également assister

à un spectacle de danses Apsara (danses khmères),

des costumes superbes, une gestuelle très codifiée et toute en délicatesse.

 

 

Ah ! se promener en “tuk-tuk” dans les rues de Siem Reap ! Le prix de la course fait toujours l’objet de discussions plus ou moins longues, mais une fois que l’on tombe d’accord sur le prix, on n’y revient pas…enfin, normalement car, après avoir “âprement” discuté, l’un de nous trois finissait souvent par trouver que le prix de la course était bien bas, ou que le tuk-tuk était dans un tel état qu’il fallait aider son propriétaire, ou que le chauffeur de tuk-tuk était tellement sympathique qu’on pouvait bien lui donner un peu plus… Hélène et moi avions fini par nous attacher les services d’un chauffeur de tuk-tuk qui nous disait “pour vous, c’est vous qui me dites quel prix vous voulez me payer !!!”

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(oui, oui, c’est bien Bernard au volant du tuk-tuk…mais juste le temps de la photo !)

DSC06298 Nous avons ainsi pu faire du shopping à Siem Reap (je ne sais pas pourquoi, Bernard n’a pas voulu nous suivre ce jour-là !…), emmenées à droite et à gauche par notre chauffeur de tuk-tuk préféré ! Et, croyez-moi, les tentations ne manquent pas à Siem Reap, l’artisanat cambodgien est fin et de bonne qualité : soieries diverses, vêtements, marionnettes de théâtre d’ombres en cuir, reproductions de sculptures…

Heureusement que nous ne disposions que d’une seule journée !

 

Demain nous quittons Siem Reap, ses temples, son artisanat…et ses chauffeurs de tuk-tuk !

Annick

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