Modelled on the central tower of Angkor Wat, Independence Monument was built in 1958 to commemorate the country’s independence from France in 1953. It also serves as a memorial to Cambodia’s war dead (at least those that the current government chooses to remember). Wreaths are laid here on national holidays.
Nearby, in Wat Botum Park opposite photogenic Wat Botum , is the optimistically named Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Monument , built to a Vietnamese (and rather communist) design in 1979. Concerts are often held in the park, which springs to life with aerobics, football and takraw (foot juggling with a rattan ball) enthusiasts after 5pm.