temple
temple and 3 people
Source: Angkor Wat Temple

Cambodia Background Information

Cambodia is known for their rich culture and well-preserved ancient temples. Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometers in total, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. Their population is 15.29 million and their official language is Khmer. Cambodia also has the 4th highest human development index in the world.

banknote
Source: Banknote World, Shop, Cambodia 500 riel banknote from 2014

Banknote of the day Information

On the obverse of the Cambodia 500 riels banknote from 2014, there’s an image of the Naga, a mythical snake as well as King Norodom Sihamoni. On the reverse, there’s a car driving over Kizuna (Cambodia-Japan Friendship) bridge over Mekong river at Kampong Cham. Naga snakes are mythical serpent beings that originated in Hinduism. However, in Buddhism, they often are protectors of the Buddha and of the dharma. This explains why the Naga is on most of their currency, because it’s estimated, 95% of the population is Buddhist.

temple
tree
Source: Kiva Stories from the field blog, Ta Prohm Temple, near Angkor Wat

Norodom Sihamoni is the King of Cambodia currently. He became King on October 14th, 2004, a week after King Norodom Sihanouk renounced his title. He is the oldest son of King Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath. Before taking the throne, Sihamoni was educated in Czechoslovakia and was best known for his work as a cultural ambassador and a classical dance inductor! Wow! He also has appearances in two movies, My Village at Sunset and Prachea Komar! Lastly, on the reverse you see the Mekong river remains one of the most beautiful and most untamed rivers in the world. It may odd to put “untamed” and “beautiful” together, however, because it is untamed; it is beautiful. It is the 7th longest river in Asia and 12th in the world.

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