Siem Reap ( ), is a province
located in northwestern Cambodia, on the
shores of the Tonle
Sap lake. The provincial capital is Siem Reap town.
The name literally means"Siam
Defeated", a reminder of the centuries old conflict between the
Siamese and the Khmer. The province came under the control of the
Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya
and was later
returned to Cambodia in 1907 after French gunboat diplomacy
concession of the area. This area became part of a disputed
territory between France and Siam(now Thailand) which led to the
in 1941, resulting
in victory for Thailand and a return back to Thai control. The
province again reverted to Cambodia in 1946, after the end of WW2
and French diplomatic pressure. Today it is best known for the ruined temples
Statues on the bridge leading to
Victory Gate, Siem Reap, Cambodia (January 2005).
Located in northwest Cambodia, Siem Reap is a major tourist hub in
Cambodia. The most recognizable of the temples,
Wat, literally Capital Temple, was built by
King Suryavarman II during the early
Recently the city has seen a great deal of
expansion; hundreds of hotels, restaurants and shops, catering to
both international and Cambodian tourists have opened to serve the
influx of visitors. Also, King Norodom
and the Cambodian royal family maintain a residence in
the town. The Angkor temple complex is north of the city.
sites of interest near Siem Reap include Angkor Thom built by Jayavarman
Prohm, as well as hundreds of other temple ruins.
Angkor, and the surrounding area that would later become known as
Siem Reap, faced repeated invasions from the Thais, and ceased to
be the capital after a seven-month siege in 1431. The capital was moved
Penh in 1432, and then to Lovek and Oudong, before
moving back to Phnom Penh in 1866. The temple ruins were
visited by Western explorers and missionaries before the 19th
century, but Henri Mouhot is generally
seen as having "discovered" Angkor Wat in 1860.
The province is subdivided into 12 districts, 100 communes and 907