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Phnom Penh is the capital and most populous city of Cambodia. It has been the national capital since the French protectorate of Cambodia and has grown to become the nation’s economic, industrial, and cultural center.

Phnom Penh was founded in 1434 to succeed Angkor Thom as the capital of the Khmer nation but was abandoned several times before being reestablished in 1865 by King Norodom. The city formerly functioned as a processing center, with textiles, pharmaceuticals, machine manufacturing, and rice milling. Its chief assets, however, were cultural. Institutions of higher learning included the Royal University of Phnom Penh (established in 1960 as Royal Khmer University), with schools of engineering, fine arts, technology, and agricultural sciences, the latter at Chamkar Daung, a suburb. Also located in Phnom Penh were the Royal University of Agronomic Sciences and the Agricultural School of Prek Leap.

Once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920s. Phnom Penh, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia. Founded in 1372, the city is noted for its historical architecture and attractions. It became the national capital in 1434 following the fall of Angkor and remained so until 1497. It regained its capital status during the French colonial era in 1865. There are a number of surviving colonial-era buildings scattered along the grand boulevards.

On the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong, and Bassac Rivers, Phnom Penh is home to more than 2 million people, approximately 14% of the Cambodian population. The Greater Phnom Penh area includes the nearby Ta Khmau city and some districts of Kandal province.

Phnom Penh (lit. ‘Penh’s Hill’) takes its name from the present Wat Phnom (lit. ‘Hill Temple’) or from the former Funan Kingdom, an ancient kingdom that existed from 1st to 6th century AD in Southeast Asia and the forerunner of the current Cambodian monarchy. Legend has it that in 1372, a wealthy widow named Penh found a Koki tree floating down the Tonlé Sap river after a storm. Inside the tree were four bronze Buddha statues and a stone statue of Vishnu. Penh ordered villagers to raise the height of the hill northeast of her house and used the Koki wood to build a temple on the hill to house the four Buddha statues, and a shrine for the Vishnu image slightly lower down. The temple became known as Wat Phnom Daun Penh, which is now known as Wat Phnom, a small hill 27 meters (89 ft) in height.

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An image from Phnom Penh

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Phnom Penh – Bing images

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