A dazzling illustration of traditional Angkorian architecture, Independence Monument was designed by Vann Molyvann – a renowned Cambodian architect – in the model of a lotus that mainly takes after stupas seen at Angkorian Wat. Perhaps the prominent characteristic of this 20-metre tall, reddish-brown stone memorial is the multi-headed snakes that beautify the five levels of lotus bud. Its elaborate designs are best highlighted in the late afternoon, as shadow creeps across the floors. Independence Monument, or Vimean Ekareach – as it is referred to in Khmer, is a grandiose structure that dominates Phnom Penh city centre. Independence Monument was mainly erected to mark the liberation of the country from the French who ruled Cambodia for almost a century from 1863 to 1953.