Cheung Ek Killing Field

The best known of the “killing fields” where the Khmer Rouge executed over a million innocent Cambodians, The Cheung Ek Killing Field at the village of Choeung Ek is one of the most prolific and historic place in Phnom Penh and is also popular destination for tourists from all over the world come here.

There are many things to explore when you visit the Killing Fields. It’s more horrific than Tuol Sleng. You will walk in and listen to your guide to understand a beacon of memory to the lives lost here.

From 1975 to 1978, there are 17.000 men, women, children and infants who had been detained and tortured at S-21 prison (now Tuol Sleng Museum) were transported to be murdered to avoid wasting precious bullets.

Cheung Ek Killing Field 1

Choeung Ek houses the remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were found in 1980 from graves in an orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched. Over time, fragment of Human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits and now they are clearly visible. Over 8000 skulls that are arranged by sex and age in here are visible behind the clear glass panels of the 17 story Memoral Stupa, which was erected in 1988. Behind this clear glass panels are also the broken bones and various tools used in the murder of prisoners.

The most gruesome component of the Killing Fields was the killing tree (also called Chankiri tree) that children and infants were smashed because their parents were accused of crimes against the Khmer Rouge. The prisoners who were transported from Tuol Sleng had to wait for 24 hours before they were killed by a blow to the head after which their throats were slit.

Mass graves

There were many killing fields all over the country but the Killing Fields at Cheung Ek was believed to be the largest one. Every year a ceremony is held around the stupa to bring peace to the spirits of the deceased on the 20th of May. And nowadays, it is the site of a Buddhist memorial to the victims, and Tuol Sleng has a museum commemorating the genocide. The memorial park at Choeung Ek has been built around the mass graves of many thousands of victims, most of whom were executed after interrogation at the S-21 Prison in Phnom Penh. The majority of those buried at Choeung Ek were Khmer Rouge killed during the purges within the regime. Many dozens of mass graves are visible above ground, many which have not been excavated yet. It can be said that Cheung Ek Killing Field in Phnom Penh is a very important place in the city as it has a long history attached to it.

Tree of hope and peace

HOW TO GET THERE

The Choeung Ek Killing Fields are open daily from early morning until late afternoon. The best time to visit is morning, you should get up early and experience the site in peace and quiet because this site will be busiest on weekends.

It’s situated in the he south of Phnom Penh, about 10km from the Royal Palace. With no public transportation, to get there, you can take a tuk tuk or book a private car/ tour. Then will take Monireth Blvd south-westward out of the city from the Dang Kor Market bus depot. The Killing field is located 8.5 km from the bridge near 271 Street.


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