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Intrusive, but needed

Intrusive, but needed


Was there a conspiracy against photographers in 2008? Many complained about scaffolding and tarpaulins on the temples spoiling their shots. It is easy to become paranoid about the apparent insensitivity of the work, but the intrusion of scaffolding and wooden shoring is necessary, if unfortunate. The top level of Angkor Wat has been closed to the public since October 2007. Restoration has inevitably meant that classic views of the five towers have been temporarily spoiled. The atmospheric West Gate has now been adorned with road signs and timber to support and narrow it for large traffic. The ancient laterite road has been covered in timber decking to preserve it. The small temple of Preah Pallilay has had its extraordinary trees removed. The famous view of the tree roots covering the East Gopura of Ta Prohm is now impossible to photograph without a new wooden platform for tourists to pose! The jungle temple of Beng Mealea has new wooden walkways and steps to ease the passage of the thousands of tourists.  Further afield, Koh Ker has protective fencing and shoring up of dangerous structures, and Prasat Thom Pyramid has been closed. But these visually intrusive measures are in place for conservation and safety purposes. In spite of this, Angkor has thousands of splendid viewpoints and remains one of the world's most photogenic places. 


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