The Royal Palace (Khmer: ព្រះបរមរាជាវាំងនៃព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា, Preah Barum Reachea Veang Nei Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a complex of buildings which serves as the Royal Residence of the king of Cambodia. Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol (Khmer: ព្រះបរមរាជវាំងចតុមុខសិរីមង្គល). The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1860s, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.
The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It was gradually built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma).
The establishment of the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh in 1866 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 after destroyed by Siam, it first settled in Phnom Penh which back then named as Krong Chatomok Serei Mongkol (Khmer: ក្រុងចតុមុខសិរីមង្គល) in 1434 (or 1446) and stayed for some decades, but by 1494 had moved on to Basan, and later Longvek 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, King Ang Chan (1796–1834) constructed Banteay Kev (the 'Crystal Citadel') on the site of the current Royal Palace and stayed there very briefly before moving to Oudong. Banteay Kev was burned in 1834 when the retreating Siamese army razed Phnom Penh. It was not until after the implementation of the French Protectorate in Cambodia in 1863 that the capital was moved from Oudong to Phnom Penh, and the current Royal Palace was founded and constructed.
Buildings of the Royal Palace
The complex is divided by walls into four main compounds, on the south side is the Silver Pagoda, to the north side is the Khemarin Palace and the central compound contains the Throne Hall and to the west is the private sector or the Inner Court. The buildings of the palace were built gradually overtime, and some were dismantled and rebuilt as late as the 1960s. But some old buildings dates back to the 19th century.
Architecture and Area
The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a good example of Khmer architecture featuring its layout of the defensive wall (kampaeng), throne hall (preah tineang), Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), stupas (chedei), towering spires (prang prasat) and mural paintings. The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh covers an area of 174,870 square metres (402m x 435m).