Independence Monument in Phnom Penh: The outstanding Independence Monument known in Khmer as Vimean Ekareach, is one of the most important landmarks of Phnom Penh. The monument attracts many tourists for its magnificent reinterpretation of ancient Khmer architecture, an Angkorian style tower, was built with modern construction techniques using reinforced concrete.
It stands on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the centre of the city. At night it is lit with blue, red and white light (the colours of the national flag) and it should be an impressive sight for foreigner and local alike to visit.
During national celebrations such as Independence Day on November 9th and Constitution Day on September 24th, the Independence Monument is the center of activity. A ceremonial flame on the interior pedestal is often lit by a royal or high official on these occasions, and floral tributes line the stairs.
The Independence Monument was built in 1958 and inaugurated on November 9, 1962 to celebrate the independence from the French in 1953. It is also used as a memorial place dedicated to the Cambodian’s patriot who died for the country.
The monument was designed by influential Cambodian architect, Vann Molyvann, an and it stands 37 meters tall. Independence Monument is designed in a Angkorian style, shaped as a lotus-shaped stupa which also can be seen at Angkor and other Khmer historical sites. It consists of five levels and every level is decorated with snake heads and tt is surrounded by very large parcs and fountains.
Though visitors are not allowed to enter the monument, there is a big and beautiful open park locates directly in front of the monument and It is a popular place with the locals – Jogging, walking or simply feel the gentle breezes. It is also good for foreigner to take photo or watch the world go by.
Just down the street from the Independence Monument was the Statue of Norodom Sihanouk, considered to be the king-father of Cambodia. The bronze statue is 4.5 meters tall and is housed under a 27 meter high stupa in the park east of the Independence Monument. The statue was put up in honour of his accomplishment in achieving independence from France for Cambodia on November 9th, 1953.
Almost at end of the parks there is a Naga fountain which built the same time as the monument. The beautiful fountain is an attraction point for both foreigners and local people to enjoy and family gathering, especially at night.
The highlight of Independence Monument comes at night. Everything around the site including fountains is illuminated by blue, red and white lights, which are the colors of Cambodian flag and it should be an impressive sight to see and relax.
Take a 10 minutes’ walk behind the Royal Palace, you can easily reach the monument. A few blocks away from this landmark of Phnom Penh you can find Wat Phnom, the Hill Temple that is the most important temple in this city. What you should not give a miss are the National Museum, Tuol Sleng and the Russia Market.