Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Temple may be heritage site



Temple may be heritage site

Sambor Prei Kuk temple, seen here in 2011, is being put forth for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sambor Prei Kuk temple, seen here in 2011, is being put forth for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. DON WEINLAND

Temple may be heritage site

Sambor Prei Kuk, the seventh-century temple of the pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom built by Isanavarman I, is to be submitted for consideration as a World Heritage Site to UNESCO.

The announcement came yesterday at a seminar on research and conservation on the temple complex, the most important religious centre of the pre-Angkorian era and now located in a quiet patch of forest in Kampong Thom province.

According to Minister of Culture Phoeurng Sackona, up to 80 per cent of the documents for the proposal have already been prepared and will be finished soon.

“The documents will be completed by the end of 2014 and hopefully will be sent to UNESCO in Paris,” she said. “It’s expected to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the future.”

The Ministry of Culture first conducted research on the temples in 1998 and work on a conservation plan was started in 2001 in collaboration with Japan’s Waseda University, an effort that will continue until 2017, said Prak Sonnara, director-general of cultural heritage at the ministry.

“Currently, about 13 clay temples have been repaired,” Sonnara said.

“They emerge from the jungle with people living in them. So at this site, nature, temples and people live together,” he said. “It has outstanding, universal value.”

Japan helped to draw up a master plan of the temples, ranking them according to which ones were prone to collapse and researching the lifestyle of the people living there, Sonnara added.

Ut Sam Orn, Kampong Thom provincial governor, said having Sambor Prei Kuk as a World Heritage Site would “help the temples’ worsening condition and facilitate locals’ livelihoods when more tourists come to visit”.

Sam Orn also added that currently more than 1,000 tourists visit the temples each month.

Cambodia currently has the temples at Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear listed as World Heritage Sites. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia and Khmer shadow theatre are also listed as intangible cultural heritage.

Banteay Chhmar Temple, Champei music, Khmer silk and Khol Drama are also planned to be listed with UNESCO in the future, Sackona said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there