Welcome today's guest contributor James Cochran with Formus Architects, where I work with him and am constantly impressed with his researching abilities. Below is a list he's compiled while researching several other Cambodian topics for us. He will also share a posting on Cambodian architecture later this month.
Please feel free to add to the list.
- Cambodia's first bridge across the Mekong River opened in 2001 linking the east and west of the country.
- Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II (1131 to 1150). The city of Angkor Thom and the Bayon (temple) were built by King Jayavarman VII (1181 to 1220).
- The word Angkor is derived from Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) and means city. Wat means temple.
- The Angkor kings built huge reservoirs and canals for irrigation.
- Most Cambodian young men are Buddhist monks for a short time.
- Cambodia was under French control from 1863 until 1953.
- In 1975 Pol Pot took control of the capital city, Phnom Penh.
- During the reign of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge over one and a half million people died.
- After the war in Cambodia, 4 million existing landmines continue to cause casualties. It will be another ten years before all the landmines are removed or destroyed. Each month there are between 300 and 700 amputations due to land-mine injuries.
- Oil and natural gas deposits were discovered off the coast of Cambodia in 2005.
- The Cambodian flag is the only flag in the world that features a building.
- The birth rate is three times higher than the death rate.
- Forty percent more males are born each year than females, yet more females survive making up 64 percent of the population.
- 50 per cent of the population is aged under 15
- 1 in 236 Cambodians is disabled, making Cambodia the most disabled country on earth.
- Life expectancy is 49.7 years old.
- Angkor Wat, in the Cambodian jungle, was discovered by French explorers in the nineteenth century making it the Eighth Wonder of the World.
- In 2003 fewer than 120,000 customers used the services of Cambodia's banks. For every $1 deposited in banks, more than $10 was held informally
- The electricity is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Large hotels and businesses have generators. Outside cities, electricity is available only in the evening from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
- Cambodians greet each other by pressing their palms together in front of their bodies and bowing. This is called a Sompeah, with the younger or lower ranked person normally initiating the gesture.
- It is considered rude to point feet, particularly the soles, towards a person or things, so tuck them away when sitting on the floor or on a chair.
- The Khmer Rouge tried to restart history, to erase all trace of what went before. Even the ruins are not there to build on. Reconstruction has been a hard struggle and there's a long way still to go before the benefits of peace reach ordinary Cambodians.