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Psar Thmei (Central Market)—Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Ianatlarge
N 11° 34.188 E 104° 55.278
48P E 491419 N 1278984
Quick Description: The very impressive, yellow, central market building of Phnom Penh.
Location: Cambodia
Date Posted: 8/28/2010 6:57:27 PM
Waymark Code: WM9K9Y
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 5

Long Description:
This building is very impressive, a must see on the Phnom Penh tourist circuit. It is also a place to search for the more high end 'tourist' goods in the city.

The building has as its core a central dome, approximately 50m in diameter. From this core four wings radiate outwards, each approximately 50m in length. The entire structure is yellow in colour. The Central Market is a bustling emporium of numerous stalls selling a wide variety of upmarket goods. Under the central dome silver jewellery is the most widely available item, but even here and in the wings there is a wide assortment to be found: antique coins, DVDs, video games, clothing, clocks, flowers, food, fabrics, shoes and luggage.

Prior to 1935, the area was a swamp/lake (by name: Beng Decho), which was prone to flooding during the rainy season. At this time the city was expanding westwards (back from the Mekong river). The lake was drained and construction of the market began in 1935, and was completed in 1937. It was designed by Desbois and engineered by Chauchon—apparently, the construction relied upon innovative technology. The market was an immediate success and became an architectural landmark of the city. In this time period Phnom Penh was a prosperous, well designed, and attractive city.

As at 2010 Phnom Penh is experiencing an economic boom, some of its French colonial architecture is being renovated, much is being destroyed. Fortunately, the central market is in the former category. Currently it is undergoing a US$4.2 million renovation project, funded by the French Development Agency, and it is due for completion in 2010/11. The renovation apparently includes an expansion. The parking areas/open area around the market are being covered.

(Phsar Thmey means ‘New Market’ (Phsar = 'market' in Khmer), but ‘Central Market’ has caught on in English.)

When I first visited the city ten years ago, the sight of the Central Market caught me by surprise. Its yellow colour and distintive shape stood out from the surrounding structures. I immediately stopped and had a look. Then it was dirty, dark, and dingy. I was concerned that it might be demolished to make way for something new. I am glad to say that this is not the case.
Style: Art Deco

Structure Type: Commercial/Retail

Architect: Jean Desbois & Louis Chauchon.

Date Built: 1937

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