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History of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phenom Penh is a the biggest and the most populated city in Cambodia and it also the capital city of this beautiful country that is located on the banks of the Mekong River. Phenom Penh is a rich city with the legacies of kings and conquerors, both foreign and Khmer. Phenom Penh has been the national capital since French colonization of Cambodia. Konwn as the »Pearl of Asia«, it was considered as one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in 1920s. Legend says that Phenom Penh was founded when a women with a name Penh discovered five images of Buddha inside a log washed up on the bank of the Mekong River. This discovery was taken as a divine blessing. This was in the late 14th century. At that time, Khmar capital was still at Angkor near Siem Reap 350 km to the west. Phenom Penh first become the capital of Cambodia after Ponhea Yat, king of the Khmer Empire, moved the capital from Angkor Thom after it was captured and destroyed by Siam a few years earlier.

Famouse for Angkor Wat, its ancient capital, Cambodia has a long history. Somewhere around first century BC a dynasty known to Chinese traders as Funan ruled. There are still standing an impressive ruins from this great trading empire. 
For 73 years Phenom Penh remained the royal capital (from 1432 to 1505). Then it was abandoned for 360 years (from 1505 to 1865).
In 1866 Phenom Penh became the permanent seat of government and a capital of Cambodia and also where the current Royal Palace was built. 
By the 1920s, Phnom Penh was known as the Pearl of Asia, and over the next four decades Phnom Penh continued to experience rapid growth. Phnom Penh's infrastructure saw major modernisation under the rule of Sihanouk.
War in Vietnam destroyed the »oasis of peace«. In 1970 South Vietnamese and United States soldiers invaded Cambodia in an unsuccessful attempt to rout Viet Cong troops hiding there. This was the reason that Cambodia became the focus of world media attantion. 
Today, Cambodia is considered relatively stable, and despite tremendous poverty there is also progress. 
There are still evidences of the tragic past, but also of ancient cultures and French colonial glory. 
Now there you can find modern shops and restaurants, luxury cars…
Foreign aid and tourism is helping Cambodia to regain its economic feet.
Althoug no one is forgeting the past, the country is also keen to modernize and to grow through the 21st century and beyond

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