|Nickname(s): City of Past Kings|
|Province||Kampong Speu Province|
|Time zone||Cambodia (UTC+7)|
Oudong (Khmer: ឧដុង្គ) (also romanized as Udong or Odong) is a town in Cambodia, situated in the north-western part of Kampong Speu Province. The town is located at the foothill of the mountain Phnom Udong, about 40 km northwest of the capital Phnom Penh. The temples are located on the mountain, which runs from the southeast to northeast, with a low saddle in the middle. Oudong is a monumental necropolis of royalty for the past kings of Cambodia.
Oudong was founded by King Srei Soryapor also known as (Barom Reachea IV) in 1601, after the abandonment of Longvek. Under the reign of King Ang Duong (1841-1850), he constructed canals, terraces, bridges and erected hundreds of pagodas in this region. Oudong was later abandoned by King Norodom in 1866 in favor of Phnom Penh. In 1977 the Khmer Rouge destroyed many of the remaining temples, monuments, and structures in the area.
From 1618 until 1866 it was formally called Oudong Meanchey", home to a succession of kings, deposed from the former capital of Lovek by the invading Thais. In 1866, it was abandoned by King Norodom, taking his royal court along with him to the current capital, Phnom Penh. It was extensively damaged by the Khmer Rouge in 1977.
Legend has it that in the Arthross Temple (Temple of Eight Points), the Buddha located here faces north instead of the traditional direction of east, symbolizing a testimony to the strength and power of the ancient Khmer kingdom.
In the 18th century, locals say, a Chinese emperor sent his people out across Asia to identify potential threats. When they came to Oudong, they saw a mountain shaped like a naga, with a cavern on top of the Arthross end, and they observed the wealth and power of Khmer society. The Chinese told their emperor that the Khmers were already a powerful race, and should a naga appear through the cavern of Arthross, they would be strong enough to rule the world.
The Chinese emperor did not want this, nor did he want a war. Instead, he asked the Khmer king if he could build a temple above the cavern, with the Buddha's face towards China in order to protect his empire. This was named the Arthaross temple, which means "eighteen corners", because there are 18 points, or corners, built into the temple's structure.
World Heritage Status
- "The Rough Guide Southeast Asia" Rough Guides, 2002 ISBN 1-85828-893-2