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Tourists concerned over Angor Wat lights

Tourists concerned over Angor Wat lights

Tourists have voiced concern about an ongoing light installation project at Angkor Wat temple that they argue could alter the ancient complex's appearance and cause considerable structural damage.

The Sou Ching Co, which sponsors "Night Lighting" tours of Angkor Wat, began inserting lights into the walls of the temple late last year as part of an effort to illuminate the entire complex.

The company had previously placed lights on the ground, but these were often trampled by tourists, said owner Var Chhouda, who added that the company had spent US$12 million on lighting since 2006.

Bun Narith, director general of the Apsara Authority, which manages the temple, said those who had complained about the light installation believed that the company had been drilling holes into the walls of the temple and placing lights in them. On the contrary, he said, the holes were already there.

Effort to dispel concerns

Bun Narith said he had been receiving complaints from tourists for months. He said he convened a press conference on Saturday during which 16 journalists were allowed to inspect the lighting project.

He said the Apsara Authority and UNESCO would meet June 2-3 to "evaluate the impact of using light at night at the temple site". 

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