China has played a crucial role in safeguarding and developing the UNESCO-listed Preah Vihear temple in northern Cambodia, Cambodian officials said recently.
Preah Vihear, a Hindu temple, is located atop a 525 meter cliff in the Dangrek Mountains in Preah Vihear province, about 400 kilometers north of the capital Phnom Penh and 200 km northwest of the famous Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap. Province.
The 11th century temple was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2008.
Kong Puthikar, director general of the National Preah Vihear Authority, said China is co-chairman of the International Coordinating Committee for Safeguarding and Development of Preah Vihear with India.
Created in 2014, the CIC-Preah Vihear is the international mechanism for coordinating all the assistance provided by different countries and organizations for the preservation and development of Preah Vihear.
“This is an important role in helping the Cambodian government safeguard the Preah Vihear Temple, a World Heritage Site,” Puthikar said.
“In its role as co-chair, China is committed to conserving and restoring Gopura I, Gopura II and Gopura III (there are five gopuras at the Preah Vihear temple),” he said.
A gopura is the gateway to the temple.
He said China has already sent its technical team to study and assess the risks and structure of the three gopuras. However, the actual works have not yet started due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe that with the accumulated experience of working with World Heritage sites in China, Chinese experts will be well placed to help restore the Preah Vihear temple in the near future,” Puthikar said.
Ea Darith, director of the conservation and archeology department of the National Preah Vihear Authority, explains that before the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese archaeologists visited the temple to conduct a conservation survey and assess the extent of restoration work required.
“China is a very important partner in the conservation and restoration of the Preah Vihear temple ruins,” Darith said.
“I would like to propose that Chinese experts help provide training courses on Geographic Information System to our Cambodian archaeologists, as well as new technical skills for conservation, perseverance and stone research and analysis” , he said.
Preah Vihear is one of three sites in Cambodia included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The other two are the Angkor Archaeological Park in northwestern Siem Reap province and the Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site in the central province of Kampong Thom.
Kong Vibol, director of the Preah Vihear provincial tourism department, is confident that the Preah Vihear temple will be a popular destination for Chinese tourists in the post-pandemic era.
“Thanks to our close relationship, Cambodia’s attractive tourist spots and the proximity of the two countries, I believe that more Chinese tourists will vacation in Cambodia in the future, and some of them will surely visit Preah Vihear Temple. “, did he declare. .