Saturday, September 12, 2009

On a mission

The old Police Station, now empty, dates from 1925 on St 13 in the Post Office district
The sun was out this morning as I spent more than 3 hours wandering the former French district of Phnom Penh with a group of like-minded architecture enthusiasts and the folks from The Heritage Mission, bent on giving us the low-down on the plethora of colonial-inspired buildings that still populate the area between Wat Phnom and the riverside. Once surrounded by a canal, the area's buildings take on a number of inspirations from France, the Greeks and the Romans, alongwith the shop houses of the Chinese amongst the apartments and administrative edifices that housed the colonial admin departments. The tour was conducted in French, English and Khmer by half a dozen architects as we walked from Wat Phnom to the Post Office district and then caught a bus to other locations. It was hot work and though it lost a bit in translation, it certainly opened my eyes to the sheer number of interesting buildings in the vicinity that I was previously unaware of. And I'm sure there's a lot more. I'll post some photos in due course, for the time being, here's a few tasters.
The facade and lettering of the former Hotel Manolis in the Post Office area
Inside the apartments now housed within the former Hotel Manolis, built in 1910
A look at the frontage of the Central Post Office, originally constructed in the 1890s

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