Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
According to ITYPEMBA, Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia. It is located in the center of the country at the intersection of three rivers – Tonle Sap, Bassac and Mekong. Once considered one of the most beautiful cities in French colonial Asia, the city still has not lost its former charm, although it has gone through difficult times.
Phnom Penh as the capital first arose on the site of the rich village of Phnom Duong Penh shortly after the capture of Angkor by the troops of Siam in 1432. However, already at the beginning of the XVI century. the capital was moved to Lovek, and in 1620 to Udong. And only after France declared its protectorate over Cambodia in 1866, Phnom Penh finally became the capital of the Kingdom.
The main attractions of Phnom Penh – This is the National Museum of Art, the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and the temple-mountain Wat Phnom. The National Museum of Art contains historical relics and a unique collection of Khmer statues from the Funan and Chenla empires, the Indravarman period and the classical Angkorian period. If you come to the museum in the evening, you can see another “national exhibit” – bats. Many consider the bat colony at the National Museum to be one of the largest in the country.
Royal Palace was built in 1866 by the French. Among the various buildings outside the palace walls, the most interesting and important is the Throne Room, built in the Khmer style in 1917. It was used for coronations and ceremonial receptions, such as the presentation of credentials. South of the Throne Room are the Royal Treasury and the villa of Napoleon III. The Royal Palace is still the official residence for the Royal Family, but is only used for official ceremonies. The king and his family live elsewhere.
On the territory of the Royal Palace, it is worth paying attention to the library, which stores sacred texts written on palm leaves, as well as to the pavilion with a huge footprint of the Buddha and the model of Angkor Wat.
Silver Pagoda was founded by King Norodom in 1866. The building of the pagoda is made of wood and has a very original architecture. This is one of the places in Cambodia where you can view the splendor and richness of the Khmer civilization. The stairs leading to the Silver Pagoda are made of Italian marble. The wall surrounding the pagoda is decorated with frescoes showing scenes from the Khmer version of the Ramayana, Rimk. Inside, on a gilded support, there is a figure of Buddha. The most important statue of the temple is the Emerald Buddha, which is not made of pure emerald, of course, but of crystal. In front of her is a life-sized golden Buddha adorned with 9,584 diamonds, the largest of which weighs 25 carats. Directly in front of this Buddha is a stupa made of gold and silver with part of the remains of the Buddha brought from Sri Lanka.. On the left side of it is a bronze Buddha, weighing 80 kg, and on the right side is a silver Buddha. Behind the dais is a marble Buddha made in Burma and a portable throne bed used by the king on his coronation day. Its gold parts weigh 23 kg and it took 12 men to carry it. At the back of the hall are two golden Buddhas, each adorned with 16-carat diamonds. The pagoda is named silver because its floor is paved with 5,000 silver blocks.
Temple Wat Phnom, after which the capital of Cambodia is named, located on a hill in the northern part of Phnom Penh. It was built in 1372 and was repeatedly reconstructed and altered: in 1434, 1890, 1894 and 1926. A large number of people come here to pray for good luck and success in business. When the petitioner’s wish is granted, he returns to give thanks.
To the west of the temple is a huge stupa containing the ashes of King Ponya Yat (r. 1405-1467). A separate place is occupied on the mountain by “fortune tellers”, who enjoy special respect and honor in Cambodia. Some of them speak English or French, so you can try to find out your fate. Around Wat Phnom there are many monkeys, Javanese macaques, which you can feed by buying bananas or nuts from sellers popping right there. At night, Wat Phnom is illuminated with colorful garlands and looks very elegant.
To the south of Phnom Penh is the town of Tonle Bati with a temple built in the 12th century.
Sihanoukville is located 200 km southwest of Phnom Penh. This is actually the only beach resort in Cambodia, which has good development prospects. The city was founded in the 50s of the twentieth century. as a deep water port. The construction project was sponsored by the French, and the Americans built a highway to the capital. After the overthrow of King Sihanouk, during which the city was built and after whom it is named, Sihanoukville was renamed Kampong Saom. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, the city suddenly flourished. Foreigners settled here and opened cafes, restaurants, bookstores and diving centers.
The position of the city is very good: within a few hours you can get to Phnom Penh, in half a day – to Ho Chi Minh and a little more than half a day – to Bangkok. Therefore, rest on snow-white beaches can be successfully combined with sightseeing trips. The main beaches of the resort are Victory Beach and Sokha Beach, which is a private property of the resort complex of the same name. Sihanoukville has a great future – all the land has already been sold here. In the future, it will become one of the all-inclusive resorts.