Preah Vihear Temple (Khmer: ប្រាសាទព្រះវិហារ) is a Hindu temple built during the reign of Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague awarded the temple to Cambodia.
Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province and through which the temple is most easily accessible. On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .
Prasat Preah Vihear is the compound of words Prasat, Preah and Vihear. Prasat (ប្រាសាទ) mean "castle", sometimes "temple"; in Sanskrit प्रासाद. Preah (ព្រះ) mean "sacred". "Vihear" (វិហារ) mean "shrine" (the central structure of the temple). The word Vihear could be related to the Sanskrit word Vihara (विहार) which means "abode."
Preah Vihear is transliterated into Thai as Prasat Phra Viharn (ปราสาทพระวิหาร) or Prasat Khao Phra Viharn (ปราสาทเขาพระวิหาร). Prasat (ប្រាសាទ) has the same meaning in Khmer, Thai, and Sanskrit ("castle", sometimes "temple"; in Sanskrit प्रासाद), and Khao is the Thai word for "hill" or "mountain" (in Khmer: "phnom" (ភ្នំ). Cambodians occasionally refer to it as "Phnom Preah Vihear" (ភ្នំព្រះវិហារ) and Thais usually call it "Khao Phra Viharn"). The words "Preah" (ព្រះ) and "Phra" (พระ) mean "sacred", and the words "Vihear" (វិហារ)/"Viharn" (วิหาร) mean "shrine" (the central structure of the temple). In Thai, the word "khao" (เขา) has recently (as of 2008) been omitted from the name in order to differentiate between the temple and the cliff it is built atop.