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Minister calls upon citizens to help preserve ancient temples

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and World Monuments Fund celebrate the 30th anniversary of international cooperation in Siem Reap province. KT/Pech Sotheary

Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeurng Sackona yesterday appealed to the public to participate in the preservation of the national heritage sites such as temples located within the Angkor area.

The call was made during an anniversary celebration of the World Monuments Fund in Siem Reap province.

Ms Sackona said the government has cooperated with 14 foreign countries and organisations to conserve and repair temples located within the Angkor area and other temples across the Kingdom. She said that more than $500 million were spent to preserve and restore the temples.

She said that the public should help preserve ancient temples, pagodas, bridges, houses, and traditional instruments, music, dances and food.

“It is not only the duty of the government – [preservation] requires the participation of the masses,” Ms Sackona said. “We want to take care of what belongs to the nation and preserve it for the next generation.”

She said the public can help heritage and culture by donating funds.

Ms Sackona noted that US-based World Monuments Fund is one of many organisations that have helped the restoration of temples located within the Angkor area. These temples include Preah Khan, Ta Som, Angkor Wat and Phnom Bakheng.

Michael Newbill, US embassy charge d’affaires, said the relationship between WMF and the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry have lasted for at least three decades.

Mr Newbill said WMF in Cambodia compiled architectural heritage documents of Cambodia, preserved major temples and trained specialists.

“We are proud of this cooperation and project, and we are still committed to supporting the long-term conservation programme at Phnom Bakheng as they enter phase six for work on the unrestored western half of the temple pyramid,” he said.

Ginervra Boatto, WMF representative, said over the past 30 years, WMF has helped Cambodians become experts in cultural heritage and created a new generation of specialists in the field of architecture, archaeology and engineering.

“Today, WMF’s Cambodian team of heritage specialists is able to plan, design and implement conservation programmes throughout Cambodia and Southeast Asia region,” Ms Boatto said.

According to WMF, through the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, WMF has received more than $3.2 million since 2004. It said the money went to the preservation of Phnom Bakheng.

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