Like a massive lotus blooming from Phnom Penh’s center, this monument is a touching tribute to the country’s independence and to the people who made it possible.
Walk or drive through Phnom Penh and look up; you can’t miss Independence Monument. This eye-catching structure dominates the city center.
Understand the important history of the site. Independence Monument was built in 1958 to commemorate Cambodia’s liberation from French rule. The French protectorate had dominated the country from 1863 to 1953.
Cambodia’s path to independence was not a smooth one; thousands of patriots died making it happen. This monument also honors the men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country.
Notice that Independence Monument is reminiscent of a blooming lotus. Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann designed it after the symbolic flower, which is said to represent purity and awakening. You will see the lotus appear in many other Cambodian structures, such as Angkor Wat.
The monument soars 66 feet (20 meters) in the air. Its reddish-brown stone and curving lines mesh well with traditional Cambodian architecture. Note the many-headed snakes that climb up the levels of the lotus bud.
Visit during the day to enjoy Independence Monument as a great place for a peaceful rest. You can’t walk inside it, but its shady perimeter is the perfect place to take a break from the glaring sun. At night, the monument lights up in a symphony of colors. Note the red, white and blue floodlights, which represent the Cambodian flag.
Independence Monument is a gathering place for important national holidays, such as Independence Day on November 9 and Constitution Day on September 24. Attend the parades and special ceremonies taking place here.
Walk east of the monument toward Sihanouk Boulevard to reach a beautiful park. This perfectly manicured urban oasis is an excellent place to go for a jog or enjoy a relaxing picnic.
Independence Monument is located at the center of the roundabout where Sihanouk and Norodom boulevards meet. Walk within a few minutes to other famous landmarks including the Royal Palace and Wat Phnom.