Independence Monument Phnom Penh - review by Rusty Compass
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Independence Monument Phnom Penh

| 03 Feb 2011


Independence Monument Phnom Penh
Roundabout at Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards

Our rating
03 Feb 2011

Another city icon, the Independence Monument commemorates the end of French colonial rule in Cambodia. Located at one of Phnom Penh’s busiest roundabouts it's not easily missed.

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Phnom Penh’s Independence Monument was inaugurated in 1958 to mark the city’s liberation from French colonial rule five years earlier. It was designed by celebrated French trained Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann who went on to become the country’s most celebrated architect. In the post Khmer Rouge era, it has also become a monument to the lives lost in war.

The Independence Monument is a dramatic structure - especially at night - with plenty of Angkorian elements.

Cambodia,Phnom Penh
Photo: Mark BowyerIndependence monument

In the decades ahead, it may also become a monument to Vann Molyvann himself. His prolific architectural achievements across the country in the 1950s and 1960s are symbols of a period of hope and possibility in newly independent Cambodia. That brief period of idealism was derailed in the late 1960s by the encroaching war next door in Vietnam and wiped out by the triumph of the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

One of the most regrettable elements of Cambodia’s current economic revival is that the voices of people like Van Molyvann are rarely heard. Many of his architectural creations are also under threat though the future of his most visible creation, the Independence Monument, seems assured.

The links below provide further information on Van Molyvann and his achievements.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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