Experts reflect on Koh Ker temple complex’s World Heritage status

Koh Ker temple since 2018. Post staff

Technical officials from the National Preah Vihear Authority (NAPV) and experts from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inspected a number of temples in the Koh Ker temple complex as part of the required assessment process before that the United Nations body not proceed with its designation as a Heritage Site in July 2022.

Temples inspected by experts on October 3 include Trapeang Ang Khna, Prasat Khtom, Prasat Damrei, Prasat Srolau, Prasat Krachab, Prasat Banteay Pir Choan, Prasat Prang, Prasat Tamen, Rohal, Prasat Chen and Prasat Pram.

They are part of the 50 or so temples in the complex.

NAPV chief executive Kong Puthika, who leads research on Koh Ker’s ancient monumental construction, told The Post on October 4 that the visit was for the final assessment after a meeting on proposed tourism plans for the Koh Ker temple complex, before any decision is made on whether or not to add temples to the list of World Heritage sites.

“We will look at the land proposed for registration, which is divided into three zones: the core zone, the buffer zone and the satellite zone, which Cambodia suggested to the [World Heritage] Commission in 2020.

“The expert visit consists of evaluating these three areas so that the committee can take into consideration the inscription or not of the Koh Ker site as a World Heritage site and do so with all the information it needs.

“So after submitting these documents, they will send experts for another visit to register and give their opinion to the committee,” he said.

According to Puthika, the committee’s final decision on whether or not to recognize Koh Ker as a World Heritage site will be taken at a meeting in July 2022.

He added that the international team of experts would make their decision based on three main areas of inquiry: the cultural value of temples, opportunities for community participation and benefits, and Cambodia’s ability to successfully manage the seaside resort of Koh Ker, formerly a World Heritage Site. a statute is applied to it and its current renown is thereby increased.

According to NAPV, the Koh Ker temple complex is located in Srayong commune of Kulen district of Preah Vihear province, about 72 km from Siem Reap province if you are traveling along Route 211, or 49 km from town of Preah Vihear.

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