Koh Ker Heritage Plans Submitted For UNESCO Status

Cambodia has prepared documents for the inclusion of Koh Ker as a World Heritage Site and submitted it to the World Heritage Committee for review at the end of January. The committee has agreed to accept the proposal, which means that the first step for UNESCO status is now underway.

Preah Vihear Authority Director General Kong Puthikar told Kampuchea Thmey that according to the assessment of international experts, Cambodia hopes that the Koh Ker Temple will be able to be included in the World Heritage List. The protection of the resort is continuing while the application documents are properly prepared.

Mr. Kong Puthikar said: “Currently, Cambodia is just waiting for the World Heritage Committee to review and contact Cambodia if any documents are still missing or (they) have any further questions.

According to the commission’s program, during March they may send questions back to Cambodia, and around September they will send experts to inspect the temple to assess the documents and the actual location. “

He said that after experts visited the site in September, they will prepare a report on the assessment to the World Heritage Committee, then the committee will propose to put on the agenda of the next meeting in June 2022 for further evaluation. 

Mr. Kong Puthikar said: “So hopefully if the COVID-19 crisis is resolved, everything will go according to plan, but (if) the committee can not send experts directly to Cambodia, I know how they will implement it. ”

Secretary of State and spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Long Bonna Sirivath, told Kampuchea Thmey that the World Heritage Committee has sent experts to inspect the site of the temple and they will provide further advice, which Cambodia will discuss later.

“Koh Ker temple has been proposed as a World Heritage Site because it has universal value as well as to showcase Cambodian culture and it will benefit the temple’s conservation goals and attract tourists,” he said.

Mr. Long Ponna Sirivath said that in 2004 the government designated the area of ​​Koh Ker temple as 8,100 hectares. Later, international experts who helped prepare the heritage application examined the potential of the resort and asked the government to issue a new decree defining the temple area of ​​8,700 hectares.

Koh Ker Temple is located in Srayong Cheung Village, Srayong Commune, Kulen District, Preah Vihear Province, approximately 49 kilometers from Preah Vihear Provincial Town.

In 2018, Cambodia conducted a study at Koh Ker, Preah Vihear and Banteay Chhmar, Banteay Meanchey to propose these two Khmer temples on the World Heritage List after Angkor Wat was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992, Preah Vihear temple in 2008 and Sambor Prei Kuk temple area in 2017.

The site of the Koh Ker temple complex is the former capital of Chok Korkor of Jayavarman IV, built in the 10th century (928-942). He moved the capital from Yasodharapura (Angkor) to Koh Ker after seizing the throne from his nephew, King Sovarman II, who reigned in Angkor. The temple is built in the style of Koh Ker, which is shaped like a pyramid. KPT

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