Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Phnom Penh

Wat Phnom

On the way to Battambang and Siem Reap we spent some time in Phnom Penh, a wonderful city to experience. It’s a mixture of Cambodian hospitality, exotic Asia and Indochinese charm.
Sisowath Quay along The Tonle Sap River
Once known as the Pearl of Asia, it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. Phnom Penh (“Phen’s Hill”) takes its name from the present Wat Phnom (“Hill Temple”). Legend has it that in 1372, an old nun named Grandma Penh went to fetch water in the Mekong and found a floating tree. Inside a hole in the tree were four bronze and one stone Buddha statues.

Grandma Penh brought the statues ashore and built a temple on a small hill to house the five Buddha. statues. The temple, which still stands, was named Wat Phnom.
Sisowath Quay Street Scene

The city of Phnom Penh is situated at the confluence of three great rivers, the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac. It is a city of more than 2 million people, the capital of Cambodia and the country's commercial, economic and political center. It is also a relatively new travel destination. An adventurous destination 10 years ago, the city is now a safe center of diverse economic and urban development. It’s quickly morphing into a city of chic bistros and restaurants along with fantastic boutique hotels and bars/restaurants along the Tonle Sap riverfront on Sisowath Quay.
Royal Palace

Phnom Penh is a fairly young city, only rising to it’s role as a capital in 1866, but it’s still steeped in local history and offers several fascinating cultural and historical sites. The city was under French colonial control from 1863-1953, and flourished in it’s independence in the 1960s. It was besieged and then evacuated under the Khmer Rouge in the late 70s and repopulated in the 80s. 
Toul Sleng (S21). The site of Genocide

Historical sites from the Khmer Rouge period in Phnom Penh include the Toul Sleng (S21) Genocide Museum at a former high school turned prison and the Choeung Ek Memorial at the Killing Fields, 17 km south of the city. The Khmer Rouge era was a brutal time for the Cambodian people.
Mass Graves at Choeung Ek

Finally revitalized in the '90s, Phnom Penh now undergoing rapid change and development. Much of the central city including the Royal Palace and the national Museum was built during the French period, with quite a few old French buildings in colonial yellow nestled among the Southeast Asian shophouses and classic Khmer pagodas. 
Phnom Penh is an exciting and fascinating city to visit. Highly Recommended!

Check out the rest of the blog . . . http://bit.ly/iDqzWB

No comments:

Post a Comment