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Koh Chen

At the Nek Luong ferry on the opposite side of the river from National Road No. 5 is the small village of Koh Chen (Chinese Island) whose inhabitants specialize in silver and copper smithing. They make ornamental items, including delicately engraved tropical fruits, used in traditional ceremonies at the pagoda or for marriages.

The distant hills of Cambodia's old capital, Oudong, and its royal stupas can be seen a few kilometers away from the ferry.

Kilometer after kilometer of rice fields interspersed with sugar palm trees - a national symbol - stretch out from the foot of the hill.
At the top, the ruins of Anthareu temple. The legend behind them has a strongly political flavor: a lampoon of the kings who gave protection to the Chinese without thinking of the interests of Cambodians.

The temple was built by the Chinese (the main entrance facing north), a reminder of an old legend: when one of their emperors fell very sick his astrologers told him that the cause of his sickness was in Anthareu, Cambodia, and that the spell had to be broken. This was done and the emperor recovered.

The Cambodians tell it another way: there used to be a cave on this site, home to a genie that protected Cambodia. The Chinese decided to fill in the cave and build the temple. Whatever the case, it was bombed during the Lon Nol regime, as was the whole Oudong region, considered to be a haven of the Khmer Rouge.

The temple fell into disrepair, which caused His Majesty King Norodom, august personage that he was, to take money from the royal treasury and collect money from the citizens of the kingdom to rebuild it. Clerical leader Tieng personally directed the work. This new temple was completed and the ritual land marking was done in 1911, during the reign of King Sisowath.
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