The Stung Treng provincial government is preparing supporting documents and evidence to have Kngok Meas mountain listed as a national heritage site.
The provincial department of culture and fine arts and the department of tourism are leading the charge to get the mountainous area – located in Thala Barivat district’s Chhvaing village, and containing remains of pre-Angkor era settlements – recognised nationally.
Nhoch Saroeun, the provincial department of culture and fine arts acting director, said Kngok Meas mountain was a national treasure which must be protected and preserved.
“After carrying out an inspection, we found supporting evidence that this mountain was a hiding place in which ancient people lived. Registering Kngok Meas mountain as a national treasure will prevent people with ill-intentions from excavating it for ancient artefacts."
“We want everybody to help preserve this area for the next generation and for tourists to visit. If we don’t preserve the area, in the future, there will be people who come to clear the forest and claim it as their personal property,” she said.
Orn Porsoeun, the provincial department of tourism director, said they were working with relevant institutions and the local community to transform the mountain into an eco-tourism site and wildlife sanctuary.
“This area has a high potential [as a tourist attraction] because it has forests, wildlife, mountain ranges and mountain caves. These areas have much historical importance according to research by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts."
“The provincial department of culture will research further to help list the area as a national treasure,” he said.
Porsoeun said the tourism sites, covering thousands of hectares, were home to abundant natural resources in the form of flora and fauna.
“This area must be preserved and supported by all of us and for tourism potential,” he said, adding that there are currently 29 caves on Kngok Meas mountain which are listed as national heritage sites.
Porsoeun said that should the area increase its tourism numbers, the department would take additional measures to ensure it was preserved and respected.
Prak Sovannara, the ministry’s Heritage Department director-general, told The Post on Tuesday that any historical area holding great potential for the tourism sector would be considered.
“If the area is ancient and has potential, we will develop it as a tourist attraction. This area [Kngok Meas mountain] can be similarly developed,” he said.