Cambodia is planning to create a natural and historical heritage site at the birthplace of the country – in the 1st century – in two communes of Prey Veng province’s Ba Phnom district, according to the Ministry of Environment.
Environment minister Say Samal led an April 20 inter-ministerial meeting to study and prepare the Natural and Cultural Heritage Area of Nokor Phnom-Phnom Chhoeu Kach Ba Phnom in the two communes.
The meeting was attended by officials from the ministries of Culture and Fine Arts; Interior; Economy and Finance; Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Mines and Energy; and Tourism – as well as various provincial administration officials.
Inter-ministerial officials showed their support for the study to demarcate and create the new site, which would cover Choeung Phnom and Chhoeu Kach communes.
“The inter-ministerial officials unanimously supported the study to create the natural, cultural, and historical heritage site, which is the birthplace of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” the ministry said.
It said the meeting had resulted in the delegation of preparatory tasks to an inter-ministerial working group and they – along with several relevant institutions – will travel to the area for demarcation and assessment of social impacts before sending a formal request to the government.
Provincial culture department director Uk Sereyvuth told The Post on April 21 that Phnom Chhoeu Kach is the only mountain group in the province. Located in Mot Prey village of Ba Phnom district, it is 78km from Phnom Penh and 45km from the provincial capital.
There are four mountains in the group: Phnom Sampov, Phnom Sa’ang, Phnom Thom, and Phnom Banhchor, he added.
He said Ba Phnom area is a former city called Nokor Phnom. Currently, there are only ruins remaining from the ancient city, such as a temple called Prasat Chan. In addition to being a historical site, the area is also linked to the popular Khmer folktale Tum Teav.
Tim Tep Vongsa of the provincial tourism department said the location is the only historical site in the province, which is home to three natural resorts: Tuol Porn Taley Boeung Sne in Ba Phnom district; Stung Char in Kamchay Mear district; and Dei Dos in Peam Chor district.
“The Nokor Phnom historical site is an attractive location in Prey Veng province because the mountain has an ancient temple, forest and fantastic views,” he said, adding that more than 340,000 tourists had visited it.