Independence Monument Phnom Penh

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Built in 1958, the Independence Monument (“Vimean Ekareach”) symbolizes Cambodia’s independence from 90 years of French colonial rule. The site, situated at a roundabout in the heart of Phnom Penh, holds the annual ceremony celebrating the independence day of 9th November 1953. 

The national holiday is marked by the lighting of the fire in the hearth inside by a royal or high official member. The occasion is usually observed by hundreds of students gathered around the monument in the morning, the surrounding roads closed to traffic. At night, fireworks light up the Chaktomuk River in front of the Royal Palace, so make sure not to miss the festivity!  

The leading figure of the independence movement was King Norodom Sihanouk, belovedly known to the people as Samdach Euv (Father King). For the building project, he administered prolific architect Vann Molyvann to design the monument. An interesting detail to note is the lotus shape of the stupa, which bears significance to the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire. 

After the king’s death in 2012, a statue of his image was constructed near the Independence Monument to commemorate his legacy in Cambodia. 

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