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The market was built in an intensely art deco style by the French when Cambodia was under colonial rule.

Phsar Thom Thmei (Khmer: ផ្សារទំថ្មី), also known as Central Market, is a large market constructed in 1937 in the shape of a dome with four arms branching out into vast hallways with countless stalls of goods. It is located in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh. When it first opened in 1937, it was said to be the biggest market in Asia, and today it serves as a fully functional historical market.

The market opens from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and it is, for tourists, a 'must see' stop. Most tourists visit this market because they want to see the extensive amount of products that are offered for bargain. The four wings of this gigantic yellow coloured dome, Phsar Thom Thmei, are teeming with numerous stalls that sell goods ranging from gold and silver, antique coins, money exchange, men and women apparels, clocks, books, flowers, food, fabrics, shoes, souvenirs, fish, seafood, dessert, luggage, and countless other products.

This unique, art-deco building is a Phnom Penh landmark. Prior to 1935, the area was a lake that received the runoff during the rainy season. The lake was drained and the market begin its construction in 1935 and completed in 1937. Wet season flooding in the area around the market is a vestige evidence of the existence of the old lake. The entrance to the market is lined with souvenir merchants hawking everything from T-shirts and postcards to silver curios and kramas. Inside is a dazzling display of jewels and gold. Electronic goods, stationery, secondhand clothes and flowers are also in ample supply.

Note: Phsar Thom Thmei is going under a US$ 4.2 Million renovation project funded by the French Development Agency, and it is due for completion in 2010.

Note: Phsar Thom Thmei in Khmer means ‘Big New Market’, but ‘Central Market’ has caught on in English.

Coordinates: 11°34′10″N 104°55′16″E / 11.56944°N 104.92111°E / 11.56944; 104.92111

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