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Geography and climate
Phnom Penh was also previously known as Krong Chaktomuk (Chaturmukha ) meaning "City of Four Faces". This name refers to the junction where the Mekong, Bassac , and Tonle Sap rivers cross to form an "X" where the capital is situated. Krong Chaktomuk is an abbreviation of its ceremonial name given by King Ponhea Yat which was "Krong Chaktomuk Mongkol Sakal Kampuchea Thipadei Sereythor Inthabot Borei Roth Reach Seima Maha Nokor" ([[Khmer: ក្រុងចតុមុខមង្គល សកលកម្ពុជាធិបតី សិរីធរបវរ ឥន្ធបត្តបុរី រដ្ឋរាជសីមា មហានគរ។).
It first became the capital of Cambodia after Ponhea Yat, king of the Khmer Empire fled Angkor Thom when it was captured by Siam in 1431. There are stupa behind Wat Phnom that house the remains of Ponhea Yat and the royal family as well as the remaining Buddhist statues from the Angkorean era.
The Pearl of Asia
It was not until 1866 under the reign of King Norodom I that Phnom Penh became the permanent seat of government, and the Royal Palace (pictured) was built. This marked the beginning of the transformation of what was essentially a village into a great city with the French Colonialists expanding the canal system to control the wetlands, constructing roads and building a port.
By the 1920s Phnom Penh was known as the Pearl of Asia and over the next four decades continued to experience growth with the building of a railway to Kompong Som and the Pochentong International Airport.
During the Vietnam War, Cambodia, including Phnom Penh, was used as a base by the North Vietnamese Army and the NLF, and thousands of refugees from across the country flooded the city to escape the fighting between their own government troops, the NVA/NLF, the South Vietnamese and its allies and the Khmer Rouge.
In 1975 the population was 2,000,000. The city fell to the Khmer Rouge and Democratic Kampuchea on April 17, the Cambodian New Year, and was evacuated by force; its residents being made to labor on rural farms as "new people ". Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's forces and was turned into the S-21 prison camp, where Cambodians were detained and tortured. It is now the Tuol Sleng Museum and along with Choeung Ek (The Killing Fields), 15 kilometers away, a memorial to those who were killed by the regime.
The Khmer Rouge were driven out of Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese in 1979 and people began to return to the city. A period of reconstruction began, spurred by continuing stability of government, attracting new foreign investment and aid by countries including France, Australia, and Japan. Loans were made from the Asia Development Bank and the World Bank to reinstate a clean water supply, roads and other infrastructure. By 1998, Phnom Penh's population was 862,000.
Administratively Phnom Penh is a municipality, which is at the same level as the provinces of Cambodia. It is subdivided into 7 districts.
- 1201 Chamkar Mon
- 1202 Doun Penh
- 1203 Prampir Meakkara
- 1204 Tuol Kouk
- 1205 Dangkao
- 1206 Mean Chey
- 1207 Ruessei Kaev
Lycée français René Descartes de Phnom Penh is the only French school in Phnom Penh.
- Royal University of Phnom Penh
- International School of Phnom Penh
- University of Technology, Phnom Penh
- Phnom Penh Government Website in English
- Phnom Penh Post
- Infoplease: Phnom Penh
- The Phnom Penh Visitors Guide
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