Angkor Thom lies on the west bank of the Siem Reap River, a tributary of Tonle Sap, about a quarter of a mile from the river. Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Khmer Empire during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. It was the center of his massive building program. An inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman VII as the groom and the city as his bride.
Within the city was a system of canals, through which water flowed from the northeast to the southwest. The bulk of the land enclosed by the walls would have been occupied by the secular buildings of the city, of which nothing remains. This area is now covered by forest.