Longvek (Laṅvaek) was Cambodia's most important royal, religious, administrative, and trading centre throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The settlement was reportedly founded by King Ang Chan I (reigned 1516/17 C.E. or 1526 C.E. – 1566 C.E.) who returned from Ayutthaya, where he had been residing during civil war, to claim Cambodian royal authority.
At the very centre of city and the kingdom, Ang Chan commissioned a new iconographic model of four Buddha positioned back-to-back facing the cardinal directions in abhayamudra. Often associated with a stupa this template was a metaphorical embodiment of Maitreya, the future Buddha. As the palladia of the kingdom this representation of the central state idol was in part a Cambodian invention of the Early Modern Period, however recent archaeological survey and excavation suggest the community also sought cultural legitimation from an Angkorian past.
While Longvek is habitually conflated in text and memory with Angkor, bonds between these Cambodian polities are observed in the materiality of their sacred landscapes. Longvek is characterised by series of earthen embankments that form a seven-square-kilometre rectilinear citadel against a natural barrier of flooded paddy and the Tonle Sap River to the east. The size, emplacement, and character of its enclosure, pagodas, palace, and material culture hark back to the sacred landscapes of Angkor informed by historical Indigenous, Brahmanical, and Buddhist belief systems.