Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Olympic Market - 1979 and 2010.
Just south-west of the stadium across Sihanouk Boulevard is one of the city’s largest covered markets. The pictures from 1979 show a huge open area, with a red-tiled covered market covering a fraction of the modern unit. I grabbed these from the 1979 John Pilger documentary “Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia. Much of the footage used in this film came from a slightly-earlier East German documentary “Kampuchea- Death and Rebirth,” which was the first film made after the intervention in January of that year which ousted the Pol Pot government. Much of the city was abandoned and deserted at that time, it was a brief period though, and life quickly returned to the capital. One local man described it back in the early 1980s as looking similar to the current Tuol Tom Pong market, as in a series of shack-style stalls with corrugated metal or tarpaulin roofing. Since then a huge concrete building has been built in the central area.
The first of new pictures shows a general front view of the market. You can see how the gas station and stalls behind it use the same sort of central reservation that is visible in the old pictures. The modern building covers the area bordered in the old pictures by trees and vegetation, none of the asphalted areas seem to have changed. The next new picture shows a couple of innocuous-looking corner houses, you can see that they are the same structures as those near the upper right corner of the market in the old pictures. The Olympic flame sign can be seen in the close up of the rather utilitarian-looking front of this market. The last picture shows the southern-side of the building with its interesting ribbed-roof. None of the shop-houses on the opposite side of that street appear to be more than a few years old, but the distant ones might be the same as those in the 1979 view. In one of the 1979 shots you can see the open ground around the nearby stadium in the background, it's mostly enclosed by buildings now.