Located just north of the Royal Palace, the National Museum was recently restored to its former glory as one of the finest examples of Khmer architecture. On display are more than 5,000 artifacts and objects dart from the 6th to the 13th centuries. They include sandstone sculptures, royal barges, palanquins and silk, intricately woven with silver and gold threads. There are also rare religious objects in gold, silver and bronze. The museums central courtyard with its lotus ponds enjhoys the cool shade from palm trees and is a perfect place for visitor to rest peacefully and contemplate the magnificence of Khmer art and history.
Some highlights include the eight-armed statue of Vishnu from the 6th or 7th century, the statue of Shiva (circa 877-866) and the sublime statue of Jayavarman VII seated (circa 1181-1218), his head bowed slightly in a meditative pose. Elsewhere around the museum are display of pottery and bronzes dating from the pre-Angkor periods of Funan and Chenla (4th to 9th centuries), the Indravraman period (9th and 10th centuries), the classical Angkor period (10th to 14th centuries), as well as more recent works.
The School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux-arts) has its headquarters in a structure behind the main building.