The Apsara National Authority (ANA), a body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaelogical Park, started repairing the staircase structure on the west bank of the west moat at Angkor Wat temple to preserve it and reinforce the strength of the temple’s foundation while further enhancing the beauty of the site.
ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on September 15 that the renovation was undertaken as the structure of the staircase was dangerously dilapidated. This repair will restore the structure to its original condition.
“We see it collapsing because tree roots have grown into it and cracked the stone. All we have to do is strengthen the old structure and the foundation that has collapsed. We will repair the staircase where portions are lost and damaged to restore it to its original shape.
“It’s easier said than done, of course, but we will get it done. Another reason to repair it is for the safety of tourists who often sit on the stairs when they visit,” he said.
Mao Sokny, ANA’s department of temple conservation technical coordinator, said the area under repair has a total length of 200m and the work will be divided into three phases and will take three years to complete.
He said for phase one, the team will reinforce the old structure by adding concrete to the stairs at the bottom and adjusting some of the collapsed parts.
In phase two, the team will repair the stairs that are somewhat corroded or have lost the original shape in the middle section.
For phase three, he said that repairs to the damaged stairs will be carried out to restore them to their original shape, a renovation that was last carried out back in the French-colonial era.
“First they will deal with the broken concrete and then they will build an 80m-long dam to pump water out in order to carry out archaeological work. They will also check the condition of the foundation below and carry out the work to strengthen the foundation,” he said.
According to Sokny, this area of Angkor Wat has been renovated several times by groups like the French School of the Far East, Italian experts and Indian experts.
In addition to repairing the staircase, ANA has been doing landscape work such as planting grass in the inner area of Angkor Wat in order to improve the beauty of its environs.