As the capital city of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has seen a lot. 150 years ago, French colonialists turned this Cambodian village into a city, “The Pearl of Asia” as it was called. This was a golden era for Phnom Penh, and since then, its history is more troubled.
Most would agree the city reached a low point between 1975 and 1979, when Phnom Penh sat empty as all its citizens were forced into labor camps by the dictatorship regime of Pol Pot. Terrible crimes of humanity have taken place here, and how can we see this in the city today?
Resilience. That must be the best word to describe this city and its people. The kind hearted friendliness that welcomes you in Cambodia does not seem befitting of a people who have seen their country in a state of ruin for decades. Yet as consistently as we were reminded of the sadness of the past, we were confronted by the resilience of a kind human nature that Cambodians can be incredibly proud of.