A representative temple
Since about 1850, the Cambodian flag has always featured a representation of Angkor Wat temple, the most famous country's monument. Even if the arrangement and colours have varied slightly through time, the flag has remained faithful to its roots. The adoption of the present flag, with a blue border and red central stripes, followed the Cambodia's independence in 1948 and remained in use till the founding of the Khmer Republic in 1970. Then, each regime adopted its own flag variation. After the end of the civil war in 1993, the former flag was used again with the restoration of a constitutional monarchy under the rule of the king, Prince Norodom Sihanouk.
The Cambodian and Afghanistan flags are the only ones to insert a representative building in their drawing 1.
The construction of Angkor Wat took place in the capital of the Khmer Empire and lasted over thirty years during the early 12th century. The temple as such was surrounded by a huge city where the king's palace stood. As all secular buildings of Angkor Wat, the palace was made of perishable materials instead of stone exclusively reserved for the construction of the temple. The Angkor Wat site combined spiritual authority and temporal power. It was, and is still today, a spiritual and national symbol. It represents at once the heart and the centre of the Khmer civilisation, source of deep devotion and national pride. Contrary to other Angkor monuments, it has continuously been used since its construction and was never completely abandoned to the surrounding nature.
The Angkor Wat temple had nine towers in reality, but they were not always all depicted in the various stylized forms shown on Cambodian flags.
1 back The central emblem of the Afghan flag represents a mosque with its mihrab facing Mecca.