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Battambang

Battambang (Khmer: ក្រុងបាត់ដំបង, "Batdambong"; Thai: พระตะบอง, RTGS: Phra Tabong) is the capital city of Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia.

Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is well known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country. For nearly 100 years, it was a major commercial hub and provincial capital of Siamese province of Inner Cambodia (1795-1907), though it was always populated by Khmer with a mix of ethnic Vietnamese, Lao, Thai and Chinese. Still today Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest connecting the entire region with Phnom Penh and Thailand, and as such it’s a vital link to Cambodia.The city is situated by the Sangkae River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province providing its nice picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French Colonial architecture is an attractive bonus of the city. It is home to some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country.

 

 

History

Battambang was established as an important trading city with around 2,500 residents in the 18th century. They lived mostly along a single road parallel to the Sangkae River (Stung Sangkae). In 1795 Thailand, then Siam, annexed much of northwestern Cambodia including the provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap into the province of Inner Cambodia. The Siamese,then Cambodian(Khmer) Abhaiwongse familyruled Battambang as a provinicial capital as governor for six generations which lasted until 1907 when the province was ceded to the French to be part of their Indochina colony.

Following the colonization of the French in Battambang the colonial administration developed an urban layout which enlarged the size of the French colonial town. In the first time development, they constructed a grid pattern of well-defined streets, put in the urban structures and built three main streets parallel to the Sangker River, connected the both side with two bridges in 1917. Military purposes and prison infrastructures were erected inside the compound. 19 years later, a second urban development plan was created with a newly constructedrailway linked from Battambang to Phnom Penh. The urban structure was extended to the west of the town, featuring some important urban axes orienting on the railway station. Many outstanding buildings like residential villas and significant public buildings were constructed during that period. According to the third urban development plan for Battambang, a large extension was planned for the north, east and south of the city. The urban layout was technically planned and required long-term thinking to create an urban axis corresponding to the existing urban layout from the former period. Battambang grew as a modern provincial capital, and became the most developed part of all provinces in Cambodia.

Several large infrastructures and public facilities were built under the modernization program of the Cambodian government under Prince Sihanouk. Several provincial departments, the court house and other public administrations were set up on both sides of the river. Textile and garment factories were built by French and Chinese investors, the Battambang Airport was constructed, and the railway line was developed to reach Poipet. Numerous schools and a university were built. A sports centre, museum and an exhibition hall were constructed to serve the cultural needs of the growing population.

Attractions

Kamping Puoy Lake

Located between two mountains, named Phnom Kul or Phnom Ta Nget and Phnom Kamping Puoy, at Ta Nget village, Ta Kriem Commune is 35-kilometre (22 mi) from the provincial town. Kamping Puoy lake is 1,900-metre (6,230 ft) wide, 19-kilometre (12 mi) long and can load 110,000,000 cubic metres (3.8846×109 cu ft). It is famous for its giant lotus flowers whose fiber is spun and weaved to make a new organic fabric. These activities employ more than 20 underprivileged women around the lake.

Baset Temple 

Was built during the reign of King Suryavarman II (1002–1050) and located on a hill at Baset village, Ta Pun commune 15-kilometre (9 mi) from the provincial town. Baset temple adapts the architecture of 11th century and built in 1036 and 1042. Next to the temple, there is a pond 20-metre (66 ft) long 12-metre (39 ft) wide and 10-metre (33 ft) deep. The pond never dries up even in the dry season.

Wat Ek

Adapts the architecture of 11th century and built in 1027 during the reign of King Suryavarman II (1002–1050). It is located at Piem Ek commune 14-kilometre (9 mi) from the provincial town.

Prasat Banan 

Adapts the architecture of mid 11th century and the end of 12th century the temple was first built by King Dharanindravarman II (1050–1066) and was built finally built by the King Jayavarman VII (1181–1220). The temple is located on the top of approximately 400-metre (1,310 ft) high mountain at Koh Tey 2 commune, Banan District 15-kilometre (9 mi) from the provincial town by the provincial Road No 155 parallel to Sangker River. In the valley, there is Ku Teuk and two main natural wells, namely: Bit Meas and Chhung or Chhung Achey.

Prasat Snung

Characterized by three separated stupas made of brick, located on a hill 30-metre (98 ft) long and 20-metre (66 ft) wide, in Snung pagoda’s area, Snung commune, Banan District 22-kilometre (14 mi) from the provincial town. According to the style at the gate, the temple is similar to other temples in 12th century. Behind the temple, there is another new temple being built.

Phnom Sampov

Is a natural resort located along the National Road No 57 (the former National Road No10) at Sam Puoy commune (the high land more than 100-metre (330 ft) high) and 12-kilometre (7 mi) from the provincial town of Battambang. On the top of Sam Puoy mountain, there is a temple and three natural wells, namely Pkar Slar, Lo Khuon and Ak Sopheak. Next to Sam Puoy mountain, there are some mountains, and natural sites like Phnom Trung Moan, Phnom Trung Tea and Phnom Neang Rum Say Sork. These mountains relate to the Cambodia folk legend of Reach Kol Neang Rum Say Sork.

Sek Sak Resort

Is a natural resort, which has been popular since before the civil war time. Sek Sak stretches along the river bank with plants, trees and bamboo stretching 500-metre (1,640 ft) length. Tourists can also visit other attractive sites like Po Pus Pich Chen Da Dong Tong and Sa Ang speak, the pre-history site five kilometer (3.1 mi) to six kilometer (3.75 mi) away. Sek Sak located Treng commune, Rotanak Mondul District 50-kilometre (31 mi) from the provincial town of Battambang along the National Road No 57, the former National Road No 10.

Nory (Bamboo Train)

Is overseen by the tourist police and runs from just outside of the city to a village that has a brick factory. See Norry for more information.

Battambang Circus (Phare Ponleu Selpak)

Gives performances every Monday and Thursday evening. The shows include a range of circus disciplines including acrobatics, juggling, aerial work, clowning, tightrope walking and aqua-balance. The shows are put on by students from the NGO arts school, Phare Ponleu Selpak. This organisation helps disadvantaged children and young people escape from situations connected with poverty such as begging or trafficking and to get an education, both in normal public school and in the arts.

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