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Royal Palace of Cambodia
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The gold represents Buddhism and the white represents Hinduism.

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This building holds the throne and is used for ceremonial receptions. Each new ambassador must come here to be accepted by the king. The palace grounds, afterall, are not just a museum. This is an active, current kingdom, although the king gave up political power and is now primarily a figurehead, as is the monarchy in England.

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To Westerners, this is the Silver Pagoda, so called because the floor is completely covered by silver tiles, each weighing over 2 pounds. The silver was mined in Cambodia, then sent to France to be forged and decorated, then brought back. Cambodians call this the Emerald Pagoda because there is an amazing, huge emerald Buddha inside. No pictures can be taken inside, so I can't show you the tiles or the Buddha. Interestingly, there is an almost life-size solid gold Buddha, as well.  There is more gold and silver inside this pagoda than I have ever seen in one room.

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The snake-like figure on the rail is Naga. This is usually called a dragon, apparently what the Khmer (and Indians) called large snakes. It looks scary, but is revered for protecting Buddha from rain by spreading its hood over him. The person on the right is a Dutch tourist who just wandered into my picture. She apologized profusely, but I like having people in my pictures sometimes.

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It's easy to be dazzled by the architecture, the flowers, the sculpted hedges, but I couldn't help noticing how elegant the street lamps were.

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Monkey guards!

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The things sweeping up into the air are dragon tails. The roof tiles represent scales. The dragon protects the king and his family.

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This is a stupa. The closest equivalent in the West is a mausoleum. Of course, Buddhists cremate and each stupa on the palace grounds holds the ashes of one king.

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This is King Norodom. All the information is what I can remember from the guide. The statue is a gift from Napoleon III, so it's made intentionally to resemble Napoleon. King Norodom was a fan both of horses and Napoleon.

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This is a scale model of the main temple at Angkor Wat, the main symbol of Cambodia. It's on the flag, on the beer, and pretty much everywhere else. That's justifiable, though. It's one of the great holy places of the world, like Machu Pichu, St Peter's in Rome, Mt Fuji, or the Taj Mahal.

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