Cambodia - Libraries and museums



Library facilities before the war were limited largely to the National Library (33,000 volumes, mostly French) in Phnom Penh. Also in the capital are the libraries of the University of Phnom-Penh (10,000 volumes) and Buddhist Institute (25,000 volumes). The École Française de l'Extrême-Orient, which previously had charge of all archaeological research in the country, also had its own research library in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia, in effect, is a museum of the cultural achievements of the Khmer Empire. Surviving stone monuments, steles, temples, and statuary attest to a formidable and unique artistic heritage. Particularly imposing are the world-famous temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayon of Angkor Thom. In the chaotic years of the 1980s and early 1990s, there were many press reports of pillaging of these historic sites. The PRK government established museums in what it portrayed as GRUNK death camps, with exhibits on atrocities committed during 1975–79. The National Museum of Phnom-Penh (1917), an excellent repository of national art, has an extensive collection of Khmer art from the 5th through 13th centuries.

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