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Sambor Prei Kuk celebrates third year as heritage site

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Sambor Prei Kuk temple is a World Heritage Site. KT/Valinda Aim

The 3rd anniversary of Sambor Prei Kuk’s listing  as a Unesco World Heritage sites was celebrated yesterday.

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The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Kampong Thom provincial authorities have called on all citizens to participate in protecting and preserving this cultural heritage site for future generations.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on his official Facebook page yesterday that the Prasat Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site in Sambor commune, Prasat Sambor district was listed by Unesco on the World Heritage List during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee held in Krakow, Poland in 2017.

He said the temple was an ancient capital called Ishanapura, which was the centre of religion dedicated to Shiva. The temple was built from brick, laterite and sandstone.

A child is fascinated by a tree at the Sambor Prey Kuk temple in Kampong Thom. KT/Valinda Aim

“After being listed as a World Heritage Site, the Sambor Prei Kuk temple has been a historical and cultural site popular with the tourists,” he said.

About 200 people, including the Culture Ministry, provincial authorities, National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk and residents, celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Sambor Prei Kuk as a Unesco World Heritage site at the temple site.

Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts Prak Sovannara said when the temple became listed as a World Heritage site, protection, preservation, restoration and keeping the environment pristine were given priority.

“We have no major obstacles in preserving this temple, as we have the participation of the community and local authorities to help conserve it,” he added.

However, he has called on all citizens to continue with their efforts to maintain and preserve the temple for future generations and to avoid encroachment on the protected areas with illegal occupation, which puts the temple at risk of being removed from the World Heritage site.

Kampong Thom provincial governor Sok Lou said at the ceremony that for the past three years, Prasat Sambor Prei Kuk has attracted a lot of interest from national and international tourists which has contributed to a significant increase in tourism.

He added, “But during the last few months, as the whole world is experiencing a pandemic, the number of tourists to the temple has dropped drastically.”

According to provincial authorities, the Sambor Prei Kuk temple was built between the late 6th and early 7th centuries.

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