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People walk through the Angkor Wat temple complex last month in Siem Reap.
People walk through the Angkor Wat temple complex last month in Siem Reap. Heng Chivoan

Apsara announces Angkor restoration plans

Angkor Wat is to receive significant new restorations in 2017, according to the Apsara Authority, which manages the historic temple complex.

The announcement came following yesterday’s 24th session of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC-Angkor) at which conservation, restoration, sustainable development and tourism were discussed.

Long Kosal, an Apsara Authority spokesman, said that the meeting focused on a plan to replace an original wooden ceiling on the monumental bas-relief known as the “Churning of the Sea of Milk Gallery” at the east of the temple.

“We have discussed putting the wooden ceiling back for a few years, and today we received approval from the ICC experts,” he said. Kosal explained that this first effort to replace the wooden structure will be based on an ancient fragment from Angkor Wat now held at the Guimet Museum is Paris.

The Apsara Authority has previously cooperated with the World Monument Fund (WMF) in developing plans to emulate the original ceiling design, which Ly Vanna, director of the Department of Conservation of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology, said will be implemented in June 2017.

“Each gallery of our ancient temples, including Angkor Wat temple . . . used to have a wooden ceiling,” he said. “Putting the wooden ceiling in the gallery is based on research into traditional Khmer designs.”

The Apsara authority also said that yesterday’s session sought to clarify its photography policy, noting that tourists and journalists had never been banned from photographing inside Angkor Park, but that some restrictions were placed on those taking film and pictures for commercial purposes.

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