Thalias team members recently took a trip to Phnom Penh’s National Museum of Cambodia, one of the most central landmarks in the city and an essential repository of some of the Kingdom’s stunning cultural heritage.
The National Museum is housed in a spacious red tiled building with open-air exhibits arranged in a quadrangle around a tranquil courtyard. The exhibits do not follow a chronological order, but are defined by the object rather than what the object represents. Thus you can examine in minute detail a host of gods, kings and dancers, all connected by the exquisite carving skills that define the Khmer Empire. There are more than 14,000 pieces on display at the museum, which represents a fraction of what they are holding in order to protect and preserve it for future generations.
You can see echoes of the Museum’s design at Malis in Siem Reap, which is also modelled around a central courtyard, a reflection of temple prototypes seen on ancient bas reliefs. Malis is in fact modelled on the peaceful 10th century temple, Prasat Kravan, near Srah Srang. Built by a Hindu priest, rather than a king, the temple holds some stunning carvings of Vishnu.
The National Museum also hosts a number of curated exhibitions, and one would be well advised to keep an eye on their webpage for future events — http://www.cambodiamuseum.info
Check out our photos of our own visit below: