Siem Reap | Ratanakiri | Sihanouk Ville
A minor hurdle to orientation in Phnom Penh is the frequency with street names and numbers get changed. The current denominations which date back to 1993, seem to have settled in, but there is still a chance again .The major boulevards of Phnom Penh run north-south, parallel to the banks of the Tele Sap and Bassac rivers. Monivong Blvd cuts north - south through the center of town, passing just west of the Psar Thmei (New Market).

Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, which stand on the site of the former citadel, Banteay Kev (Build in 1813), fronts Samdech Sothearos Blvd between Phlauv (Ph) 184 and Ph 240.

Since Sihanouk’s return to Cambodia, visitors are only allowed to visit the palace‘s Silver Pagoda and its surrounding compound. Entry is not permitted to the rest of the palace complex.



The Silver Pagoda, or the Preach Vihear Preah Keo Morokat (the Emerald Pagoda) to Khmers, lies within the grounds of the Royal Palace, situated near the banks of the Tonle Sap. Originally a wooden structure, the palace was initially constructed in 1892 during the reign of King Norodom, but rebuilt in its present grandeur by King Norodom Sihanouk in 1962. And he spared no effort to make this a true embodiment of the billiance of Khmer art and a rich of an ancient culture. More than 5300, 1.125 kilo silver tiles make up the floor of the Silver Pagoda, giving it its name among foreigners. The silver floor alone weights over 6 tons. The staircase leading into the pagoda is marble, and inside, two breathtaking representations of the Buddha hold court. The Emerald Buddha is, in fact, made of Baccarat Crystal, and dates back to the 17th century. A small glass case nearby enshrines a sacred Buddha relic, brought from Sri Lanka by the Venerable Loeva Em, formerly of Wat Lanka , in 1956. But the second statue of Buddha (Picture on the left) is the one which often catches the eye of visitors the most strongly. Its 90 kilo gold body is studded with 2086 diamonds. The largest , on Buddha's crown, weighs 25 karats. Cast in 1904 by King Sisowath at the request of his elder brother King Norodo, it represents Maitreya Buddha in the Buddhist year 5000 - the future Buddha.



Back in 1372, Phnom Penh was a nameless and sparely inhabited places. It was merely a level piece of land to the west of what was then called Tonle Chab Chheam, or River of Blood - perhaps because of the number of battles that had taken place upstream and regularly stained its waters red with blood. The river was also called Tonle Chaktomuk, or river of Four Faces, due to the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Tonle Mekong and Tonle Bassac at this place. One day, a wealthy widow called Yeay Penh, or Daun Penh(Grandmother Penh) was walking by the river and noticed a large Koki tree log floating close to shore. She called her neighbors to help it in, and in a hollow of the log she found four bronze statues of Buddha and one of stone. That signaled the birth of the city. The widow built a hill in an auspicious place and constructed a shrine on top to house the statues. This hill became the highest point of the area and was named Wat Phnom. Phnom means mountain or hill. Wat Phnom is now the heart of Phnom Penh - a city named after Yeay Penh and the hill she constructed.



The National Museum offers very interesting exhibits of more than 5,000 artifacts, including an eight armed statue of Vishnu (from 6th or 7th century), a statue of Shiva (9th century), and a statue of Buddha dating from pre-Angkor period. Visitors can also see a statue of King Jayavarman VII (1181 to after 1201), who reconstructed the capital and Angkor Thom that was pillaged by Cham warriors in 1177. Jayavarman VII is the king credited with establishing a network of roads in Cambodia, using innovative building techniques to raise them above the level of swamp and building sophisticated bridges. Also on display are pottery and bronze pieces dating back to the periods of Funan and Chenla (4th to 9th centuries). A massive population of bats estimated to number more than one million, flies out from the museum's attic and circles the capital city of Phnom Penh before sunset and constitutes a spectacular sight for tourists. While Museum authorities want artifacts protected from bat droppings, wildlife advocates want these bats protected as well.



At the intersection of Norodom and Preah Sihanouk Blvd; it was build in 1958.

It is now also a memorial to Cambodia’s war dead and is sometimes known as the Victory Monument. Wreaths are laid here on national holidays.



Toul Sleng Museum: In 1975 Toul Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21(S-21). It soon became the largest centre of detention and torture in the country. Every prisoner who passed through S-21 was photographed; sometimes before and after being tortured. The museum displays room after room of photographs of men, women, children covering the walls from floor to ceiling. S-21 claimed an average of 100 victims a day. Several foreigners from Australia, France and the USA were held here before being murdered. Their documents are on display as well.



(New Grand Market) is commonly referred to as the Central Market The front entrance to this amazing structure is flanked by legions of souvenir shops selling a daunting array of goods to suit almost any budget and taste.
In the middle under the central dome are shops selling diamonds, precious stones, watches and gold and silver items. The eastern section of the building houses stalls offering silver and woodcarvings . Here, one can also find silk product like the Sampots (Khmer skirts) and krama.



(Russian Market) has been known by its incongruous English name since 1980s, probably because there were many Russians and Russian goods alike then at this covered market south to Mao Tse Toung Boulevard.

Now this market is the best place in town for souvenir hunting. Especially on weekends, it is crowded with more foreigners than locals, bargaining for everything from clothes to shoes, silks sampots and handbags, woodcarvings, compact discs, antiques or pottery.



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