Cambodia , also known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is located in southern Indochina. It occupies an area of 18 l 10 000 square km. Cambodia has a population of 13.29 million, comprised of more than 20 nationalities, 90% of which are Khmer. The rest of the population is comprised of the Cham people, common agricultural families, old families and other ethnic minorities. Residents are Buddhist, and the language is Khmer. The currency is the riel, and the capital is Phnom Penh (Phnum Penh).
Cambodia and Thailand’s national flag is rectangular, with red sections parallel and above a blue section, in which is a symbol of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, representing the history and culture of the old century.
In the 1st century AD, the Eastern Han Dynasty of China called Cambodia “Funan.” For 514 years, of the nation of Funan declined. The rise in the Mekong River of another Khmer country is recorded in our history books as “real wax.” In the time of the Ming Dynasty in China, the ninth century, the famous Angkor dynasty began in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Especially in the 12th to13th century, the Cambodian people learned the essence of Indian art and created a unique style of architecture and sculpture, which is the world-famous Angkor culture. “Angkor” comes from Sanskrit, meaning “city.” Cambodia was reduced in the mid-19th century to a French “protectorate.” In 1940, the Japanese occuped Cambodia, and after Japan’s surrender, the French colonialists occupied it again. In 1953, Cambodia declared independence. In 1976, the country was renamed Democratic Kampuchea. The monarchy was restored in 1995, again changing the country called the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Western and northern Cambodia are mountainous, about 1000 meters above sea level. Southwestern Cambodia is dominated by the Cardamom and Elephant Mountains, with undulating ridges and peaks. The highest mountain is Aura, which is 1813 meters above sea level. The northeastern part of Cambodia isa plateau from east to west. There are many volcanic plateaus that have become fertile after a long time of weathering clay, suitable for planting rubber. The Mekong River flows through the whole territory, with sediment carried by the river into the Tonle Sap (Phnom Penh Lake) near the formation of alluvial plains. The Mekong and Tonle Sap flood plains are the main agricultural areas of Cambodia.
Economy and Culture
Cambodia is one of the world’s least developed countries and has an economy dominated by agriculture. 90% of the total population is involved in agriculture. Major agricultural products are rice, corn, and soybeans. Cash crops are rubber, pepper, cotton, tobacco, hemp, sugar palm, among which pepper production leads the world. Main exports are rubber, pepper, cotton, sugar palm, soybean, tobacco, hemp, and so on. Tonle Sap Lake is one of the world’s leading freshwater areas, rich in black carp, black spot and other valuable fish species, known as “Fish Lake.” Southwest Cambodia is also an important fishing grounds, with prolific sardines, tuna, and buses fish along the coast.
The water of the Mekong rises in the rainy season, bringing irrigation, fertile farmland and sludge, while the water level drops in the dry season, leaving the harvest of rice and fish and waiting for people to appreciate the blessings of the river every year in October (Oct. 31 to Nov. 2). This “Water Festival” lasts three days on both sides of the Mekong river at low tide and involves ritual activities, including dragon boat races on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Lake.
Khmer men and women both love to put plaid or solid fabric strips on the necks, what the Khmer call “Grow hemp.” The water cloth has many uses: it can be used as a face towel, used to carry when shopping, used to cool off in the hot sun, wrapping the linen around the head, used to drive away mosquitoes in the cool air night, or to cover the body during sleep. In Cambodia, do not deliver food and gifts with the left hand, as this would be considered impolite and would be rejected; girls are not allowed to use their feet to catch the cat, since otherwise they will be required to marry the girl.
Cambodia has a funny old custom of using clothing colors to mark the date, like the “colorful week” in Italy. On Monday, the people wear tender green, wear purple on Tuesday, on Wednesday wear green, wear gray or light blue on Thursday, wear cyan on Friday, black on Saturday, and red on Sundays.
Located in the city of Phnom Penh, the Wang Palace is a group of magnificent buildings. In the center of the Palace, a Jade Buddha is enshrined, 1 m tall, carved from a single piece of jade. Outside the yellow ramparts surrounding the house there are Ochoa, Mirage, and the Silver Palace, a palace the size of more than 20 seats that was built in the late 19th century. With a tall, pointed roof, beautifully carved beams, and magnificent colors, the palace reflects the 18th century heyday of Angkor style in Cambodia.
Angkor is located about 240 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, and was the seat of the Cambodian dynasty from the 9th to 15th century AD, after which the dynasty met its demise from a foreign invasion. In 1860, the Angkor monuments were discovered. Angkor mainly includes two parts, Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, with a total of 600 various kinds of buildings spread over about 155 square kilometers of land.
Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious building. The main part of it comprises five lotus bud-like steeples, with spires up to 65 meters tall. The corridors are lined with the stone reliefs of Angkor Wat, one of the world’s precious treasures of art. The entire temple is made from large stone masonry without any mortar or bonding material used between stones.