Cambodia is a country with a powerful history. For centuries it was a reigning powerhouse of Asia, seeing the leadership of many popular kings and the creation of Angkor Wat and surrounding sites. The Angkor period would likely rival any other supreme civilizations of the 10th-17th centuries, with extensive hydraulic systems and city planning.
It is only in the past hundred years that Cambodia has suffered so much devastation. There’s more history to that than I have space for here (French occupation, the Vietnam/American War, the Khmer Rouge…). They have a lot to overcome, but with so much exquisite history in their distant past, hopefully it can be a solid foundation for recovery.
I walked over to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It’s not so much a museum as a preserved historical site. It’s a high school that was turned into a prison when the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh. Here is the Wikipedia page about it for more information.
To keep prisoners from escaping torture by committing suicide, hefty layers of barbed wire covered any opening that could be used for jumping.
The walls separating the classrooms were knocked out for doorways.
Small cells were hastily constructed in the classrooms out of bricks and mortar.
I also toured the Royal Palace, which is basically just an opportunity for to see some amazing Khmer architecture, lovely gardens and the King’s expansive collection of precious metal buddhas. It’s a beautiful way to spend an hour, trust me!