The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is set to host a major celebration on the evening of September 20 to mark the addition of Koh Ker archaeological site to UNESCO’s World Heritage List on September 17.

Prime Minister Hun Manet announced that earlier the same day, places of worship and community halls across the country will ring bells and bang gongs at 7am on September 20 to “honour the legacy left to us by our ancestors”.

“We’ll start the day with ceremonies at pagodas and public places, followed by a special event at the National Olympic Stadium. The programme is co-hosted by the culture ministry, Phnom Penh City Hall and the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC),” he said, speaking to nearly 20,000 factory workers in the Bati district of Takeo province.

“We are organising this in a spirit of nationalism, beyond any political affiliations. When it comes to national honour and heritage, we must stand united as Cambodians,” he added, emphasising the non-partisan nature of the event.

The prime minister also urged the Ministry of Information and local media to live stream the celebration, drawing a parallel to the coverage of last year’s sports events.

“Peace is more important than anything. It’s the foundation that has allowed us to reach this point,” Manet stated.

Culture minister Phoeurng Sackona has returned from the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which will continue until September 25.

She stated that the committee reviewed applications from various countries and approved the listing of 53 heritage sites. The government had worked on the Koh Ker Temple application since 2018.

Minister of Information Neth Pheaktra confirmed that the state-run National Television of Cambodia (TVK) along with national radio stations would broadcast the event live, adding that private televisions and radios will also participate in the live coverage.