Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, has 1.5 million inhabitants (as of 2012) and is located in the southwest of the country at the Tonle Sap, an inflow of the Mekong. Phnom Penh is by far the most important economic center in the country.
The city takes its name from the Wat Phnom Daun Penh, which was built in 1372 on an artificial 27-meter high hill to accommodate five statues of the Buddha.
Before obtaining the political independence of Cambodia in 1953, the city population of Phnom Penh consisted of one-third from Vietnamese, Chinese and Khmer. It was only in the second half of the 1950s that the demographic ratio began to shift significantly for the Khmer. Today, Vietnamese and Chinese are small, but an economically influential minority of the urban population.
Phnom Penh offers a variety of architectural sights. The range stretches from the Wat Phnom to the Royal Palace of the 19th century. In addition to French colonial villas, the city is also home to the central market, Phsar Thmei, in the Art Deco style of the 1920s.