We asked you five quick questions about Cambodia’s capital city. Here are the answers:
- Phnom Penh is situated on the banks of three rivers. To score a point, can you name at least two of them?
The biggest is the mighty Mekong, which rises in China and flows through Burma, Thailand and Laos before reaching Cambodia. The Tonle Sap is the second, flowing into the Mekong just before the Bassac flows out of it.
- Phnom Penh was also previously known as Krong Chaktomuk. Any idea what Krong Chatomuk means?
- City of angels
- City of markets
- City of four faces
- City of tarantulas
The “four faces” refer to the X-shape formed by Phnom Penh’s three rivers. The most important part of the city today is the western segment, between the Tonle Sap and the Bassac. It contains the main government buildings and royal palaces.
- What is the state religion of Cambodia?
Buddhism. The name “Phnom Penh” comes from a temple on the city’s only hill, called Wat Phnom (“Hill Temple”), founded – according to legend – by a Buddhist nun called Daun (“Granny”) Penh in 1372.
- What is the best-known killing fields area in Cambodia, which is situated about 15 km outside Phnom Penh?
Choeung Ek. It’s estimated that about 17,000 people were put to death there by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979 – but even that appalling figure is dwarfed by the total number of between 1.7 million and 2.5 million estimated to have died by execution or by disease or starvation as a consequence of Khmer Rouge policies.
- What was the capital of Cambodia before Phnom Penh was first given that status?
Angkor Thom, the last and longest lasting of the Khmer Empire’s capital cities. It houses some of the many temples in the Angkor Wat complex (though not Angkor Wat itself, which lies a little to the south-east). It was replaced by Phnom Penh in 1432 after the Siamese captured and destroyed it a few years earlier. Phnom Penh was itself abandoned for nearly four centuries after 1505, before once more becoming the permanent capital in 1866.
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