Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Culture has agreed to demolish a nearly 100-year-old ancient pagoda at Wat Svay Pope (the Goat Pagoda) in Phnom Penh (off Sothearos), despite criticism from those who believe that such historical monuments should be taken care of and preserved as a heritage for exploration rather than destruction.
An anonymous antiquities official told Swift News that despite the backlash, the ancient tower was 92 years old. “Today the country is peaceful, so why are ancient buildings still being demolished?” As a request, he wants to preserve the national heritage buildings so that the next generation will know the Khmer identity.
“This is not right,” he added. “I compare (it with) Khsach Poy pagoda in Battambang province. This pagoda was renovated about a year ago. In terms of decay, it was worse than Hortrai in Wat Svay Pope. So why was Wat Svay Pophe attacked and Wat Khsach Poy temple in Battambang province was protected? I would like to emphasize that this is a very special construction style. There are only three such structures in Cambodia, of which in Kampong Cham there are two…… Such rare heritage buildings must be protected.“
Immediately after the outburst of criticism on March 7, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts issued a statement. According to a letter received by Swift News, the Ministry clarified that during 2018, the inter-ministerial working group of the Ministry of Culture met with Samdech Preah Mongkul Tep Vongchar Anita, the Permanent Inspector of Wat Svay Pope to inspect the location in order to build new buildings for use in the pagoda due to the need for accommodation of monks and students from the provinces. Balancing the conservation and development, and with the Chief Inspector insisted that the Ministry should allow the demolition of the tower. SWIFT
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