Long neglected by Western travellers, Phnom Penh became Cambodias permanent capital in 1866. It has been home to Iberian missionaries and French colonialists, with a stunning mix of traditional palaces, Buddhist temples and transplanted French architecture. In the 1960s Phnom Penh deserved its reputation as the most attractive city in Southeast Asia. But after 1970 all this was to change, and a terrible civil war was followed by the Khmer Rouges capture of the city in 1975. Since the defeat of Pol Pot in 1979, Phnom Penh has slowly recovered, once again attracting perceptive travellers.