The village of Choeung Ek, Cambodia, is located a 40-minute drive from Phnom Penh.
At one point or another, everyone who visits Cambodia will have to confront the country’s horrific past. One place to do so is at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.
From 1975 to 1979, it is estimated that at least 1.7 million Cambodians were murdered by the Khmer Rouge regime. Leader Pol Pot and his followers targeted "enemies," a broad term given to professionals, educated individuals, ethnic minorities and anyone who lacked agricultural or hard labor skills.
The Choeung Ek memorial site is one of many places where the unfortunate were sent to be murdered, usually in excessively violent ways, and left in mass graves. Choeung Ek is a somber experience and many visitors become emotional when coming face to face with vestiges of genocide, such as the Mass Grave of 450 Victims, the Killing Tools Storage Room or the Memorial Stupa, containing nearly 9,000 human skulls. Visitors often feel compelled to put money in the Memorial Stupa's donation box, light incense or leave flowers in honor of the victims.
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