Capital of Cambodia, lying in the south of the country, at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, 210 km/130 mi northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; population (2008 est) 1,398,500. Industries include textiles, food processing, footwear, paper, tyres, and glassware.
History Established as a settlement in the 14th century, Phnom Penh became the capital of the Khmer Empire in about 1434 and the capital of Cambodia in 1867. The communist Khmer Rouge forces, led by Pol Pot, took over the country in 1975 and forced almost all the inhabitants of Phnom Penh into the countryside. After the defeat of the Khmer Rouge by Vietnamese forces in 1979, the city was gradually repopulated.
Features Famous landmarks include the royal palace, the Preah Morokot and other pagodas, the National Museum of Khmer Art and Archaeology, the Museum of the Buddhist Institute, and the National Museum of Phnom Penh. The city is also the home of the National University of Phnom Penh (1956), the University of Agronomic Sciences, and the Agricultural School of Prek Leap.
Economy Foreign investment and tourism have increased markedly since the holding of elections in 1993. Phnom Penh is the focus of Cambodia's road system and is linked by rail to Bangkok, Thailand, and to Vietnam and Laos, while the city, itself a major river port on the Mekong with access to the South China Sea through Vietnam, is also served by a deep-water harbour at Kompong Som on the Gulf of Thailand, and by Pochentong International Airport, which has regular flights to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hong Kong.
Phnom Penh Visitors' Guide
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