Although Phnom Penh’s face and skyline have been drastically changing at a tremendous pace since the past few years, the capital city of Cambodia still retains some of the beautiful testimonies of its glorious past.
If you look around, especially in the centre of the city and area known as “the Old French Quarter”, you still can see traces of the French colonial architecture. Few French styled administrative buildings and houses built during the 19th century still remain, some either wonderfully renovated some in total disrepair. For example, the Central Market, Hotel Le Royal, beautifully restored, and some still crumbling like some old French churches or former rich Cambodian family mansions.
One of the old buildings we really like is the Old Police station, called “Le Commissariat” and dating from the French protectorate.
Located right next to the Central Post Office, this administrative building was completed in 1892 and was the former colonial police headquarters at the time. Since then, it has fallen into ruin but you can still see the French-styled shutters, the vintage checked tiles and the yellowish fading derelict walls. It has been for years and until today, the home and living quarters of several local families who are currently ‘squatting’ the place.
Don’t let fences and crumbling walls surrounding the building intimidating you, just step in and enter the building, step back in time and be ready for the experience! You will feel carried away into another period and another space, in a “behind-the-scene” hidden place. Private homes and shops are cohabiting. You can walk around and feel the magic and age of the building.
This collapsing building is exquisite and it is quite sad that no one really knows what it will become of in a few years. Some investors could just decide to tear it down to use the space and build something modern useful for the city… We deeply hope it will remain preserved. On a side note, “Le Commissariat” has been the setting stage for Matt Dillon’s movie “City of Ghosts” released back in 2002.
Take a look at the photos, they really speak for themselves, don’t they?
If you are interested in visiting the old police station, join our interactive walking adventure! Our scripted scenario will lead you not far from the building…