Cambodia’s Architectural Heritage Rated A+
Not counting the current construction boom in Cambodia marked by modern high-rises and ubiquitous condos, there are three main periods in Cambodian history that have inspired the architectural highlights of the Khmer Kingdom.
First of all, the most famous example of iconic historical architecture is the impressive temples of the Angkorian Empire. Religious in nature, temples such as Angkor Wat were built from the 8th to 15th centuries. However, their influence is still evident today, not only in Cambodia, but also as a significant architectural inspiration of Cambodia’s neighbors to the west.
Secondly, the period of French colonialization from 1867 to 1953 led to a treasure trove of French colonial architecture throughout the country. Some of the best and most well preserved examples of colonial architecture can be found in the charming riverside town of Kampot. Dilapidated examples of Indochinese glory can actually be found in all corners of Cambodia and serve as an interesting backdrop to the exotic tales of that historical period.
Lastly and entirely unique to Cambodia is the mid-century modern inspired Khmer architecture of Cambodia’s “Golden Age” from 1955-1970. Heralded by a brilliant Cambodian architect, Vann Molyvann, this new architectural style saw rise to some of the most iconic buildings in Phnom Penh such as the National Sports Complex, Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Council of Ministers and the State Palace. Built in 1963, the 60,000-seat National Sports Complex was once the most prized arena in all of Southeast Asia. Vann Molyvann’s legacy saw rise to numerous mid-century modern villas and buildings and provided a noticeable change to the architectural landscape of Cambodia.
Go in-depth into Khmer culture and explore the iconic Olympic Stadium and White Building on our Phnom Penh, Like a Local day tour.
For more information about tours to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat or other charming corners of Cambodia, please leave your contact information in the form below.