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Wat Phnom

Built in 1372, the temple of Wat Phnom stands on the only hill in Phnom Penh, which lent the the Cambodian capital its name. According to legend, the temple was originally built to house four statues of the Buddha found in a tree floating in the nearby river.

Back in 1372, or so the story goes, a wealthy widower named Daun Penh came across a fallen koki tree floating in the river near her home. Inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha. Amazed by this discovery, Penh and her neighbors built a temporary shrine on a piece of raised ground near her house. The locals called the small hill Phnom Penh, or “Penh’s Hill,” in her honor.


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