Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Temples a nature-culture blend: official

Temples a nature-culture blend: official

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra visits a temple in a protected area on May 28. Photo supplied

Temples a nature-culture blend: official

Across the country, 857 out of over 5,300 ancient temples are located in natural protected areas, 426 of which are in the Phnom Kulen National Park, according to a report from the Ministry of Environment.

The ministry’s report released on May 30 said the number of archaeological sites in natural protected areas and within biodiversity corridors in deeply forested areas could actually be even greater in number than that shown in the most current surveys.

It said more than 70 natural protected areas and conservation corridors across 21 provinces covering 73 million hectares amounted to around 41 per cent of Cambodian territory.

The areas and biodiversity corridors not only abound with natural resources, timber, wild animals and plants but are also important archaeological sites and ancient storehouses of culture and tradition in Cambodia, the ministry said.

Its spokesperson Neth Pheaktra said the ministry works in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to protect and preserve those sites. While the former is in charge of managing and conserving natural resources within the protected areas, the latter has the role of conserving the archaeological sites such as temples there and carrying out repairs, maintenance and preservation work.

“The temples and archaeological sites are closely connected to areas with natural resources. These sites have become important tourist destinations for both cultural and eco-tourism.

“The Chen Srom Temple inside the Kulen Prum Tep Wildlife Sanctuary has been attracting the attention of national and international tourists as a destination for both birdwatchers and those interested in exploring the culture and traditions of the Cambodian people,” he said.

The environment ministry called on those living in natural protected areas where archaeological sites and temples are located to protect and conserve them in order to sustainably preserve the legacy of the Cambodian ancestors while also providing important insights about the past to scholars and academics.

Mao Sokny, a culture ministry official in charge of research and the compilation of historical documents, said some countries had provided technical and financial support for preserving and repairing the temples, but unfortunately that support has largely dried up amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that development partners tended to have helped more with repairing and maintaining the most famous temples, with less attention going to many others in more remote areas and these are now facing increased deterioration due to natural disasters and aging.

“Currently, we have some support for repairing and maintaining those temples from the private sector in the country and abroad. But that support is not going to be enough because the maintenance work needs a lot of resources and a big budget. Right now, only the government is really spending money on this work,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • 8 provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,