Kep Sur Mer

kep | colonial ghosts cambodia

The town was christened "Kep sur mer" by the French in the twenties and became, till the sixties, a resort town for french and cambodian elite. The white sand, to replace the original brown one, was transported from Sihanoukville to cover the beach and luxurious modernist and art deco villas built, a time when Kep was known as the Saint Tropez of the Far East. In 1953 the independence from France and after the Khmer Rouge and the civil war, changed page. Nowadays the white sand is gone and Kep is a sleepy town that is slowly discovering a shy eco-tourism, where these fascinating structures struggle with nature to not disappear. A confrontation between jungle and concrete that leads immediately the immagination to the archaeological pride of Cambodia: Angkor Wat. Today there are over 100 skeletons of villas, between ghosts of the past and the present speculation, is still possible to feel the Kep's opulent period. A heritage in ruins that, with the exception of few cases, is destined to fade away crushed by the "shiny, colossal and new". See the full long-term project about Cambodia development here: PORTRAIT OF A LIMBO CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO OPEN THE SLIDE GALLERY. Contact ME to buy this reportage. ©Riccardo Rocchi. Any use of the contents on this web site without author's consent is strictly prohibited.

The town was christened “Kep sur mer” by the French in the twenties and became, till the sixties, a resort town for french and cambodian elite.
The white sand, to replace the original brown one, was transported from Sihanoukville to cover the beach and luxurious modernist and art deco villas built, a time when Kep was known as the Saint Tropez of the Far East.
In 1953 the independence from France and after the Khmer Rouge and the civil war, changed page.
Nowadays the white sand is gone and Kep is a sleepy town that is slowly discovering a shy eco-tourism, where these fascinating structures struggle with nature to not disappear.
A confrontation between jungle and concrete that leads immediately the immagination to the archaeological pride of Cambodia: Angkor Wat.
Today there are over 100 skeletons of villas, between ghosts of the past and the present speculation, is still possible to feel the Kep’s opulent period.
A heritage in ruins that, with the exception of few cases, is destined to fade away crushed by the “shiny, colossal and new”.

See the full long-term project about Cambodia development here: PORTRAIT OF A LIMBO

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO OPEN THE SLIDE GALLERY.

Kep Sur Mer. Kep, Cambodia. Architectural skeleton of french colonization. Villas. Colonial ghosts. 2012/2013.