Monday, April 13, 2009

Kratie's colonial past

One of Kratie's most recognisable landmarks - a mushroom-topped colonial relic
This government office is one of the few buildings that has retained its former splendour
Staying in Kratie along the Mekong River for my next post, this time it's a quick whizz around Kratie's French colonial legacy and the buildings that remain, though like other provincial towns which host similar fine and sturdy structures - Battambang, Kampot and Kompong Cham for instance - few have so far been restored to their former glory. Fortunately, much of the massive bombardment from the US that rained down on eastern Cambodia missed Kratie and the French legacy lives on around the busy marketplace and along the riverfront, including the Governor's mansion complete with rutting stags and volleyball court. Information about Kratie's colonial heritage is impossible to find, so you'll have to make do with my photos, and a suggestion that someone somewhere takes the trouble to record all of these semi-neglected buildings before they disappear forever. A book on the French colonial legacy buildings dotted around the country would sit nicely on my bookshelf. As it is, the two-storey shophouses you see here are common in all of the former colonial centres, with their shuttered windows and thick columns, though few have been given the care and attention they deserve.
The Governor's mansion is all its faded elegance
Next to the Governor's mansion is this restored building and two rutting stags for company
This building along the riverfront used to be a guesthouse/restaurant, it's now closed
Another government office along the riverside, now in a state of neglect
Looking out over the central market, a typical shophouse
Shuttered doors and windows and a balcony are the main features of this 1st floor view
More faded colonial elegance in the center of Kratie
These two-storey shophouses are given the sunset treatment, on a road that joins the river with the market
All these buildings need is a lick of paint and it would brighten up the center of Kratie dramatically
Kratie's most easily identifiable building, just north of the marketplace

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Colonial Kampot

Construction of the original Governor's Mansion in Kampot began in 1889
The French colonial administration established a residence or administrative center and colonial resort at Kampot in 1885 and lots of evidence of their time in Kampot remains today. I didn't have time to conduct a full inventory of Kampot's colonial heritage but did have a window of opportunity to whizz around with a motodup to snap a few pictures for posterity. The first two-storey brick shophouses built in Kampot appeared along the riverbank in 1901 and that saw a boom in housing and shops within the town. The Chinese were also prominent in Kampot, even before the French established their presence. Kampot's colonial appearance is akin to that to be found in Battambang, Kompong Cham and Kratie and adds a touch of flair to otherwise characterless town centers.
A restored colonial mansion now used by the Red Cross in Kampot
This two-storey townhouse was built in 1951
This colonial beauty, now in disrepair, is part of the Kampot Prison
A splash of clour makes a difference to Kampot's side streets
This ochre-coloured shuttered building has seen better days
Many of Kampot's side-streets look like this with grand columns and shuttered windows
Some of the shophouses along the riverfront need some love & attention
And this is what they look like when they are cared for

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