The Importance Of Silver Pagoda In Cambodia

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Within the Royal Palace compound is the extravagant Silver Pagoda, also known as Wat Preah Keo or Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is so named for its floor, which is covered with five tons of gleaming silver. You can sneak a peek at some of the 5000 tiles near the entrance, but most are covered to protect them. Cambodia’s Royal Palace complex was begun by King Norodom I (ruled 1860-1904) in 1886, when the capital was moved to Phnom Penh. Most buildings were completed before World War I, with involvement by French administrators and Thai designers and architects. French influence can be seen in the formal gardens which enhance the palace, and there are some European-style buildings on the grounds. Now Royal Palace is a home to His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Sihamoni, King of Cambodia. The pagoda was originally constructed of wood in 1892 during the rule of King Norodom, who was apparently inspired by Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo, and was rebuilt in 1962. It was preserved by the Khmer Rouge to demonstrate to the outside world its concern for the conservation of Cambodia’s cultural riches. Although more than half of the pagoda’s contents were lost, stolen or destroyed in the turmoil that followed the Vietnamese invasion, what remains is spectacular. This is one of the few places in Cambodia where bejewelled objects embodying some of the brilliance and richness of Khmer civilisation can still be seen. Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda sit side by side on Sothearos Boulevard

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