An anchor to Cambodia’s past

Like Kathmandu, Angkor Wat and other shrines represent a faith moulded by a millennia of cultural history.

The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is a vast complex. The red buildings with oblique roofs curve upwards at the ends of their triangles like naga with a flourish, and the tall finials that decorate these roofs rise like elegant peaks.

Constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and reopened after renovation in 1979 with the fall of the Khmer Rouge.

Inside, a giant Garuda welcomes visitors, and on either side the hall stretches out into two wings. One is the gallery of the Buddhas: a four-cornered room set up like a shrine. Numerous in number and styles, and stunning, the statues are arranged to evoke a serene and meditative atmosphere.

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