Wat Phnom to be restored

Monks walk around Wat Phnom yesterday in Phnom Penh
Monks walk around Wat Phnom yesterday in Phnom Penh. The municipal government is planning the renovation and restoration of the iconic structure. Pha Lina

Wat Phnom to be restored

The Phnom Penh municipality is finalising plans for a potential $1 million renovation of Wat Phnom, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday.

The project, which will commence at an unspecified date, will focus on combating hillside erosion while restoring worn-out structures.

“The eastern cornerstones are dilapidated and on their last legs, and natural factors as well as busy traffic crossing the area has made the ground vibrate strongly [under] the hill,” Dimanche said, adding that the project will be a joint effort between the city and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

Modern features, he said, will also be added to improve the site’s cleanliness and accessibility for foreign tourists and local worshippers alike.

The high projected cost, he added, was due to the extensive expertise and equipment required to combat natural erosion during the rainy season.

Thai Norak Sathya, spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said the renovations would take care to preserve Wat Phnom’s historical character.

“In some case that we need to make changes and replace something new, we would discuss and decide all together,” he said, adding that he was unsure how drastic the renovations would be.

While Dimanche estimated that the cost of renovating Wat Phnom would come to $1 million, he said the budget and timeline have yet to be finalised as talks continue on how to best preserve the temple, which was originally built in either the 14th or 15th century.

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