(INDOCHINA TRIP.2019) The Journey To Promote New Records In Indochina - P.8. Kampong Kdei Bridge (Cambodia)– The Oldest Laterite Bridge in Indochina

11-09-2019

(Indochinakings.org) Kampong Kdei Bridge, also known as the Dragon Bridge or Spean Praptos, locates in Siem Reap province and has a life expectancy of over 1000 years. It is said to be the oldest laterite bridge in Southeast Asia and the oldest bridge in Cambodia.

Kompong Krei Bridge was known as its original name “Spean Preah Toeus” which means “The Bridge of indication” in Khmer language. This bridge is an attractive destination tourists cannot ignore when visiting Siem Reap – the former capital of the ancient kingdom of Angkor in Cambodia.

 

It is located on Highway No.6 – the main road leading to the city of Siem Reap which is far from about 60 kilometers. The bridge has undergone the long process of its history. It was part of the main highway No.6 till 2006 that all kinds of transportation such as busses and trucks crossed over it which then was restored by Bernard Philippe Groslier in 1965. Nowadays, Kompong Kdei remains in good condition; however, the road No.6 has been diverted since a 1.3km bypass and a new bride has been built with the aims to preserving the Kompong Kdei and preventing heavy trucks crossing the bridge. Therefore, the former bridge now only allows pedestrians and villagers who travel by motorbikes or bicycles to go and walk through. 

 

Dragon Bridge was built in 1186 (12th century) under King Chayravaman VII, crossing the Kampong Kdei River. In addition, there are about 10 bridges like the Dragon Bridge crossing the Kompong Kdei River. However, Dragon Bridge is the largest and also the oldest bridge. The Dragon Bridge is 85 meters long, 14 meters high and 14 meters wide with 22 spans. The bridge has solid pillar-shaped arches in Roman-style architecture. Completely made of laterite – this is also the most impressive characteristic of this bridge.

 

On the two sides of the Kampong Kdei Bridge, there are two statues of the seven-headed Basilisk Naga, on the snake’s head still holding elaborate decorative details. The body of the curved body is like a snake’s body, lying snuggled through the torrential flow of the Kampong Kdei River before. The Khmer Naga’s seven-headed serpent statue represents seven ethnic groups in ancient Cambodian society and the Khmer claim that the Khmer people belong to the Naga. And sacred masks are worshiped by the Cambodian people as protectors of their lives.

 

Throughout the harsh battles, suffered bombs and harsh weather but the Dragon Bridge is still standing horribly, survive and endure with Angkor Wat and is the witness of the Angkor. The bridge is connected by huge rocks, engraved with fine details and hooked together. Tourists are amazed by the craftsmanship of the Cambodian craftsman who built the ancient millennium-old Kampong Kdei. Unlike historical temples, magnificent temples, immense fields, from Siem Reap center to Kampong Kdei Bridge, you will immerse yourself in the idyllic setting of the peaceful countryside. In the rainy season, the water of the Kampong Kdei River rises; children gather for fun and bathe in the river.


Ermintrude (Collect) - INDOCHINAKINGS (Source of photos: Internet)

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