Phnom Penh is the capital city of the kingdom of Cambodia with an area of 370 square kilometers and a population of about 1,000,000. It is situated in the river delta between Mekong River and Tonle Sap River. Phnom Penh is a scenic city with fresh flowers all the year round. Walking down the street, you will feel like being in a world of flowers.
Phnom Penh boasts 6 ancient Buddhist temples and a number of newly-built temples. The solemn and majestic temples are the Buddhist Center of Cambodia. For example, the Wat Ounalom, which is located by Tonle Sap River, is the largest and most famous temple in Phnom Penh. It was built in 1443 with a long history of about 567 years. In this temple, there is the largest pagoda of Phnom Penh together with five relatively small pagodas surrounding it. In the year 1890, the ashes of Buddha Sakyamuni were brought from Sri Lanka to the temple and were put in the pagoda for worship. Afterwards, a number of dignitaries built ashes pagodas in the temples for the storage of ashes.
The shopping areas of Phnom Penh are mainly concentrated in several big markets, such as New Market and Central Market. Central Market, built in 1936, ranks as the commercial center of Phnom Penh nowadays. It is a domical architecture with peculiar structure. New Market is the most flourishing area of Phnom Penh, selling various gold and silver jewelries and a number of daily necessities.
Phnom Penh is a Cambodian with a legend. Phnom means “mountain” in Cambodian and Penh is the name of an old woman. According to the legend, over 600 years ago, there lived a woman by the river of Sibi. She was called Penh by the local people and lived an abundant life there. Penh was also a devout Buddhist. In the year 1372, one day, it rained cats and dogs with thunder and lightning, causing floods. When the rain stopped and the sky cleared up, Penh went to the riverside to bring water, seeing a huge tree drifting on the water. Then Penh hauled the tree on the bank together with her neighbors. While washing the dirt of the tree, she found that there was a hole in the tree. To her surprise, there were four bronze Buddha statues and one stone statue of god. The stone statue of god stood there with a big stick in his hand. The local people believed that the statues were the godsend to them. Thus, they brought the statues to Penh’s home respectfully and put them in a newly built shed for worship. After that, Penh and her neighbors built a temple on the top of the hill and brought the statues to the temple for worship. The temple was called Penh Temple by local people and that village was called Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh City nowadays was developed from that small village.