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Phnom Tbeng to apply for Unesco heritage listing

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
A waterfall in Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park, Preah Vihear province. MoE

Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park will be put forward for inclusion in the Unesco World Heritage List, the Ministry of Environment has confirmed.

Ministry spoeksamn Neth Pheaktra told Khmer Times yesterday that Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park has been chosen from three others which were previously approved by inter-ministry experts to apply for possible inclusion in the Unesco World Heritage List.

The other sites were: Prek Kampi, Prek Prasop Wildlife Sanctuary and Thmat Peuy Thoeun Krasang Nature Reserve.

Pheaktra said there are three main reasons experts selected Phnom Tbeng to apply to be included in the World Heritage List.

First, it has always been a place of worship, a sacred place of belief, culture, tradition and custom. Second, it has natural resources, biodiversity and rare species including reptiles, deer, bears and many trees. Third, it is a potential tourist destination.

“I would like to emphasise that out of the four natural sites that the Ministry of Environment and the inter-ministry groups had studied and prepared to submit to Unesco for the World Heritage List, the experts agreed to select the Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park,” Pheaktra said.

“Until now, the experts have compiled some documents and are continuing to study more of the Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park in order to prepare all the documents in a comprehensive and complete way,” he said.

Pheaktra said experts wish to study the connection between Phnom Tbeng and Preah Vihear Temple, which is a World Heritage of Mankind.

He added that Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park has beautiful waterfalls and is a safe haven for rare animals and is becoming popular with locals and tourists.

“Cambodia would benefit greatly if Phnom Tbeng was included in the Unesco World Heritage List. It will not only become a nature reserve for Cambodia, but for the whole world,” he said.

“The benefit would be that experts from around the world would make a concerted effort to protect and conserve this area,” he added.

According to a Ministry of Environment report, Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park was established by the government on September 13, 2016.

Phnom Tbeng is located in the mountains in Preah Vihear province’s Preah Vihear city, around 400 metres, or 1,380 steps, up. It covers an area of about 25,000 hectares and includes four districts: Sangkum Thmey, Kulen, Rovieng and Preah Vihear.

This heritage site is unique in its natural beauty. The waterfall has three stages from the top to the foot of the mountain and there is a beautiful view of banana plantations on the road to the mountain.

It is a historical site where Cambodians worship shrines, including five sacred Buddhist temples and three large stones.

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