Cambodia bid to have more heritage sites

Angkor Wat is seen during the Khmer New Year celebrations in Siem Reap on April 14, 2016. The temple complex is one of the two Unesco World Heritage sites in Cambodia. (Reuters photo)

The Cambodian Culture and Fine Arts Ministry is preparing documents to add Banteay Chhmar temple to a list of tentative World Heritage Sites while it awaits the results from Unesco over another temple complex.

Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeung Sakona said the ministry sent thousands of pages of documents relating to the Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex to the World Heritage Committee last year, the Khmer Times reported on Thursday.

She added that the ministry was also preparing new documents for the Banteay Chhmar temple in Banteay Meanchey province in the hope of obtaining World Heritage status as well.

“There is profitability from getting World Heritage status. First, it make those places become famous in the world. Second, we can attract preservation funds,” she said.

“Our government also has programmes to preserve things. We can attract friends who are partners abroad, utilise the budget of Unesco, and other friends will help take care of it with us because it will be a World Heritage Site at that time.”

The Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex is in Kampong Thom province and consists of more than 300 temples built from brick and sandstone. It was the capital of the Khmer empire in the seventh century.

Many of the temples were damaged by bombs during the civil war between 1970 and 1975.

Banteay Chhmar temple in Banteay Meanchey was built during the reign of Jayavarman VII and is now being renovated and preserved.

Cambodia has two cultural heritage sites on Unesco’s World Heritage List. Angkor Wat was recognised in 1992 and Preah Vihear temple was recognised in 2008.