Cambodia is one of few remaining kingdoms in Asia, and the world, with King Norodom Sihamoni as the current ruler who succeeded his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, in 2004. In my previous posts I have said that Angkor used to be the capital of the Khmer empire. However, long after the decline of the once vast empire, the capital moved several times to several cities (in fact, Phnom Penh also briefly served as the royal capital for 73 years in the late 15th century). Then, in late 19th century Phnom Penh officially became the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia up to present.
After Phnom Penh’s re-establishment as the capital of Cambodia during the reign of King Norodom I, a new royal palace complex which consists of several buildings was started to be built not far rom the banks of Mekong River. From the time of its completion until present days, it still serves as the primary site for every Cambodian royal ceremony, including coronations and royal weddings (although during the Khmer Rouge regime, the royal palace was abandoned for a short period of time).
Different from nearby Cambodian National Museum which is painted in bright reddish color, the royal palace is painted in yellow which relates to Buddhism. There are two most important buildings inside the entire complex, which are The Throne Hall and The Silver Pagoda. The Throne Hall serves as the place where the King receives dignitaries from all over the world, while The Silver Pagoda serves as the palace’s official temple. Inside the pagoda, statues of Buddha which are made from different materials, in different positions and sizes, adorn the inner gallery. The name silver itself was attributed to the temple due to its silver tiles (currently hidden under the rug) which were inlaid by King Norodom Sihanouk before Khmer Rouge took control of the nation.
Although it’s grandeur is humbled by The Thai Grand Palace, it is still an interesting place to visit since you can experience how it feels to be in the middle of the place which plays a central role in the Cambodian royal affairs.
Related Post: Phnom Penh in a Glimpse