Saturday, October 17, 2009

Phnom Penh Cathedral




This was built sometime in the early 1960s, and was situated on Monivong Boulevard, somewhere about mid-way between where the railway station and Phnom Penh Hotel are now. It was demolished by hand in 1975. Many overseas Khmers, intellectuals and left-wingers returned to Cambodia after the Khmer rouge victory to help the new regime. They were not trusted and were incarcerated, many in a prison that was located at Boueng Trabek High School. Some were set to demolishing the cathedral, which was very hard work as it was built from reinforced concrete. Even in modern day Cambodia this is the normal way of demolishing a building, it's a lot cheaper to get a few guys and give them sledgehammers than hire a machine. Anyway, not a trace of the cathedral remains.

5 comments:

Otro Victor said...

Communists = murderers!!

Peter Fröberg Idling said...

Very nice pictures - may I ask were you found them? The cathedral was actually inaugurated in 1955 and hated by many Khmers as the towers were taller than the Wat Phnom and Catholicism was considered French-Vietnamese. It seems to have been the only building the Khmer Rouge explicitly destroyed. (It is disputed who actually blew up the National Bank.)

MM said...

Fantastic! I knew about this cathedral but had only read about it. It was located where the present-day Ministry of Information is, I believe. I don't think I have even seen any pictures of it. Can you tell me their source, particularly the first one? The color quality makes it look recent, though clearly it can't be. Based on the incomplete spires, I'm guessing that was taken in the early 60's while it was under construction.

phnompenhpast said...

Thanks, I was never exactly sure where it was but I spotted it in the background of aerial shots from the Cambodia 1965 film. To be honest I can't remember where I got them, before I started this blog I collected hundreds of pictures from the internet and didn't record the sources. More recently I've tried to be a bit more careful to do so and credit the sources.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these pictures!
Actually, the Cathedral was located at the spot of the present day Ministry of Post and Telecommunication. In the beginning of 1980's there was a round restaurant, built of bamboo and other light materials, popular with the expatriates of those days and called
'The Cathedral'. It was taken down (no dynamite needed) in mid 1980's to make space for a satellite station that was built with Soviet Union aid. That building still stands.