Royal Palace – Great Example of Stunning Khmer Architecture

Architecture in Cambodia can create magic like the time machine do. If you want to come back to the ancient time and get the idea of cosmic world, visiting Angkor Archeological Park is the best choice. However, if you are just interested in the comparatively events in history of Khmer and Cambodia, Royal Palace is at the top of the list.

Royal Palace was first erected by King Norodom I in 1886 when Phnom Penh became Cambodia’s official capital city. It was erected at the intersection of The Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac River. The Palace is filled with 9 spectacular buildings and four gates which has particular meaning.

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The meaning of each gate 

The well-known attraction in Phnom Penh can be approach through four gates facing four cardinal points. The Victory Gate faces to the east and is symbolized the victory and happiness. Thus, it serves as the entrance for royal member and VIPs only. When the water festival is held, the highness will go out from this gate to watch the festival. The northern gate is also called the funeral gate. The body of monarch will be taken out via this gate after three month being kept in the palace. The west gate is known as the executing gate since it was only opened for the aim of bringing the prisoners out of the palace to kill. The South gate is used for welcoming commoners and leads the Silver Pagoda – an impressive temple next to Royal Palace complex.

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A discovery inside the Palace

Do not just stop at the gate of the Palace, coming inside to discover what it has is the best recommendation for you. 9 stunning buildings cover an area of more than 6 hectares and the complex is still the residence of royal family. Thus, although the Palace is open for visiting, there is some limitation in some certain areas. For example, Khmarin Palace – the Royal residence, Villa Kantha Bopha – the guest house and Damnak Chan – the Royal administrative offices are closed to the public.

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Throne Hall

It’s nice to start your discovery from Throne Hall – one of the most striking buildings in the complex. In the past, King Norodom built the first one by wood, but it was destroyed in 1915. The present Throne Hall was reconstructed and inaugurated by King Bat Sisowath in 1919.  Its roof contains seven tiers and is marked on the top with a 59m-high four-face tower which is erected in the Bayon style. Moreover, the roof was covered with tiles in three color such as orange, sapphire and green. In Khmer style these color respectively represents prosperity, nature and freedom. The building its self also remains the religious value as the golden nagas was put at the corner of each level with the aim of prevent the building from evil spirits.

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Coming into the Hall from the east door, the entirely in gold thrones and beautiful ceiling paintings are what you should spend time noting. Nowadays the building is used for coronations and official meetings.

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Chanchhaya Pavillion

Like Throne Hall, Chanchhaya Pavillion is a reproduction of the wooden one which built by King Norodom. It is known with another name Moonlight Pavillion and serves as venue for Royal dancers. The Pavillion is easy to see from outside of the surrounding wall, therefore, it is chosen to be the place for King gives his speech to the crowd and hold the Royal banquet. It leaves deep impression on visitors by its stunning roof which covers with orange tiles, beautiful patterns and marks the top with the high tower. 

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Napoleon III Pavilion

Among the traditional buildings with yellow gliding roof, Napoleon III Pavilion can be seen as a “stranger” since it is a European-style house. The house which is entirely made of iron is the gift from Napoleon III to the King Norodom. In 1991, with the financial support from French Government, the house was redecorated. Nowadays, it serves as a small museum for keeping the Royal photographs and items.

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Taking a walk in the small roads between the gardens, you not only can relax your mind but also can meet some other buildings such as Hor Samran Phirun, Hor Samrith Phimean and Phochani Pavilion which was decorated impressively to take photo. 

royal palace 6 The ceiling paitings in Phochani Pavilion

» Do not hesitate to find more interesting adventures with Cambodia River Cruises

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