The Kingdom of Cambodia is an independent country with a population of more than 7 million people. With a surface area of 181,035 sq. km and once a French colony, is the least known Indochinese country. Cambodia has a distinct geographical personality: it is a wide basin surrounded by highlands. In this basin the farmer has created a simple life – an original civilization and philosophy of mildness. Cambodia is divided into 20 provinces and rich in resources, forests, rubber, gems, fish and has a big potential in tourism.
Khmers have called their country Kampuchea (usually rendered Kambuja), since the l6th century. The name is derived from the word kambu-ja, meaning those born of Kambu (a figure of Indian mythology), which was first used to refer to the people of Cambodia in the 10th century. The Portuguese Cambodia and French Cambodge from which the English name Cambodia is derived, are adaptations of ” Kampuja”.
Cambodia lies in a tropical zone between 10 and 14 degree of latitude north the equator. The temperature is fairly uniform throughout the year and averages 25 degree centigrade (77 degree fahrenheit). The relative humidity is higher at night and usually in excess of 90 percent, during the day the average humidity is 80 percent.
The majority of the people of Cambodia are followers of Thervada and Hinayana school of Buddhism which was introduced to Cambodia between the 13th and 14 centuries and was the state religion until 1975.
The country's capital Phnom Penh is renowned for its beauty, particularly the area surrounding the Royal Palace where magificent Khmer towers share the boulevard with coloured French villas overlooking the banks of the Tonle Sap river. The glorious and world-famous Angkor Wat situates in Siemreap Province and is just a few kilometers from the town. Temples of Angkor were built between 7th and 11th century when Khmer civilazation was at its height of its extraordinary creativity. Angkor Wat is the cultural home of the Khmer people and one of the ancient wonders of the world. Its magnificent architecture was the evidence of the Khmer's strong belief in religions - Hinduism and Buddhism. First discovered by Western archeologists in the late 19th century, the lost city of Angkor is just re-opening to the exploration to the modern civilization. The fortified city of Angkor Thom, some 10 sq km in extent, was built in its present form by Angkor's greatest builder, Jayavarman 7 (reigned 1181 to 1201), who came to power just after the disastrous sacking by the Chams of the previous Khmer capital, is enclosed by a square wall eight metres high and 12 km in length and encircled by a moat 100 meters wide, said to have been inhabited by fierce crocodiles. The city has five monumental gates, one in the north, west and south walls and two in the east wall. The gates, which are 20 metres in height, are decorated on either side of the passageway with stone elephant trunks and crowned by four gargantuan faces of the bodhisatva Avalokitesvara.