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Chan Chaya Pavilion, Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Chan Chaya Pavilion, Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Known places)

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The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh (Khmer: ព្រះបរមរាជាវាំងនៃរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា , Preah Barum Reacha Veak Nei Preah Reacha Nayeak Kampuchea), Cambodia is a complex of buildings which are the royal abode of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barom Reachea Vaeng Chaktomuk. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1866 (153 years ago), with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

The palace was started after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh after the mid-1800s. It was gradually built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of four divisions at the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma).

History

The establishment of the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh in 1866 (153 years ago) is a comparatively recent event in the history of the Khmer and Cambodia. The seat of Khmer power in the region rested at or near Angkor north of the Great Tonle Sap Lake from 802 AD until the early 15th century. After the Khmer court moved from Angkor in the 15th century, it first settled in Phnom Penh which back then named as Krok Chatomok Sirei Monkol (Khmer: ក្រុងចតុមុខសិរីមង្គល) in 1434 (585 years ago) (or 1446 (573 years ago)) and stayed for some decades, but by 1494 (525 years ago) had moved on to Basan, and later Lovek and then Oudong. The capital did not return to Phnom Penh until the 19th century and there is no record or remnants of any Royal Palace in Phnom Penh prior to the 19th century. In 1813 (206 years ago), King Ang Chan (1796-1834) constructed Banteay Kev (the 'Cristal Citadel') on the site of the current Royal Palace and stayed there very briefly before moving to Oudong. Banteay Kev was burned in 1834 (185 years ago) when the retreating Siamese army razed Phnom Penh. It was not until after the implementation of the French Protectorate in Cambodia in 1863 (156 years ago) that the capital was moved from Oudong to Phnom Penh, and the current Royal Palace was founded and constructed.

At the time that King Norodom (1860-1904) signed the Treaty of Protection with France in 1863 (156 years ago), the capital of Cambodia resided at Oudong, about 45 kilometers northeast of Phnom Penh. Earlier in 1863 (156 years ago) a temporary wooden Palace was constructed a bit north of the current Palace site in Phnom Penh. The first Royal Palace to be built at the present location was designed by architect Neak Okhna Tepnimith Mak and constructed by the French Protectorate in 1866 (153 years ago). That same year, King Norodom moved the Royal court from Oudong to the new Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and the city became the official capital of Cambodia the following year. Over the next decade several buildings and houses were added, many of which have since been demolished and replaced, including an early Chanchhaya Pavilion and Throne Hall (1870, 149 years ago). The Royal court was installed permanently at the new Royal Palace in 1871 (148 years ago) and the walls surrounding the grounds were raised in 1873 (146 years ago). Many of the buildings of the Royal Palace, particularly of this period, were constructed using traditional Khmer architectural and artistic style but also incorporating significant European features and design as well. One of the most unique surviving structures from this period is the [[Napoleon Pavilion which was a gift from France in 1876 (143 years ago).

King Sisowath (1904-1927) made several major contributions to the current Royal Palace, adding the Phochani Hall in 1907 (112 years ago) (inaugurated in 1912 (107 years ago)), and from 1913-1919 demolishing several old buildings, and replacing and expanding the old Chanchhaya Pavilion and the Throne Hall with the current structures. These buildings employ traditional Khmer artistic style and Angkorian inspired design, particularly in the Throne Hall, though some European elements remain. The next major construction came in the 1930 (89 years ago) under King Monivong with the addition of the Royal Chapel, Vihear Suor (1930, 89 years ago), and the demolition and replacement of the old Royal residence with the Khemarin Palace (1931, 88 years ago), which serves as the Royal residence to this day. The only other significant additions since have been the 1956 (63 years ago) addition of the Villa Kantha Bopha to accommodate foreign guests and the 1953 (66 years ago) construction of the Damnak Chan originally installed to house the High Council of the Throne.


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