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Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and is located in the south of the country on the Tonle Sap, a tributary of the Mekong.

The city takes its name from Wat Phnom Daun Penh (Hill Temple of Old Lady Penh), which was built in 1372 on an artificial 27 metre high hill to house five statues of the Buddha.

Phnom Penh presents itself as a modern city by Cambodian standards with over 2 million inhabitants. In recent years, the city has developed into Cambodia's most important tourist destination after Angkor, with many places of interest.

We visited the Royal Palace with the Silver Pagoda,

the temple Wat Phnom

and the National Museum.

Phnom Penh has a very lively nightlife and restaurants that offer good food for little money. There are also various markets with an unmanageable variety of goods and several shopping centres whose modern, luxurious furnishings, even by Western standards, contrast with the sometimes widespread poverty in the city and throughout the country.

In contrast to the pulsating metropolises of the neighbouring countries (Bangkok, Hồ-Chí Minh City), Phnom Penh still has many tree-lined (frangipani) avenues and quiet side streets that were built during the French colonial administration.

Nevertheless, traffic and environmental problems have increased and there are an estimated 500,000 mopeds in the city.

Independence Monument

The Phnom Penh Independence Monument, a 20 metre high Angkor-style monument, was erected in 1958 to commemorate the Cambodians who regained their independence from the French in 1953. The monument was designed by the well-known Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann. It has the shape of a lotus flower and is decorated with five levels of Naga heads, which gives it a very characteristic appearance. The Independence Monument is located in the heart of the bustling city of Phnom Penh and attracts many visitors, not only because of its unique architecture, but also because of its location: it is in the centre of a busy intersection and there is a large open park on the east side.

Pictures of the city

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