Photo: Two very different styles of monuments.

Monuments on and near Sihanouk Blvd

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These three monuments represent three periods of Cambodian history. The Angkor-inspired Independence Monument, the monument to the much loved King Sihanouk and one to the Vietnamese involvement in the country. All are easily reached on foot from the Royal Palace.





The Vann Molyvann-designed Independence Monument was built in 1958 to celebrate independence from the French five years earlier and as a memorial to Cambodia’s war dead. It’s styled in the shape of an Angkor Wat-inspired, lotus-shaped stupa, and is best viewed from one of the roads that surround it.

The Independence Monument. With guardian. Photo taken in or around Monuments on and near Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

The Independence Monument. With guardian. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Sadly, it is now being overshadowed by the ugly, imposing buildings towering nearby—many would argue deliberately as Molyvann, who enjoyed the patronage of former King Norodom Sihanouk, is part of an establishment that represented a threat to the hegemony of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Sitting in the centre of Phnom Penh’s largest and arguably busiest roundabout, the monument is a favourite among tourists and Khmers alike for photographs. The park that runs east towards the river from the monument is a popular spot for Khmer wedding photos—look for the wedding parties with their golden umbrellas posing in the afternoon light. It’s also a regular haunt for walkers, runners, dog walkers, strolling families, early evening games of badminton, and groups of kids who get together to stare at each others’ motorbikes and catch up on gossip. As a small window into Cambodian culture and way of life, there are few more pleasant ways to catch a glimpse.

A different type of monument across the road at Wat Langka. Photo taken in or around Monuments on and near Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

A different type of monument across the road at Wat Langka. Photo: Stuart McDonald

While you are in the area, cross the road to the south (carefully) and take a quick wander through Wat Langka. Really of only passing interest to the typical traveller, the temple is an historically important temple for Cambodians and a popular one for VIP ceremonies of various kinds.

Just east of the Independence Monument, the King Norodom Sihanouk Memorial was unveiled in October 2013 to coincide with the first anniversary of his death, this US$1.2m new addition to Cambodia’s public monuments makes for an ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Monuments on and near Sihanouk Blvd
Sihanouk Blvd, just east of Independence Monument
Admission: Free

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