The Phnom Penh City Hall building will be open to the public for one day next week as part of Heritage Day to let visitors see the French colonial-era building which was originally a convent.
The decision was made following a meeting between Phnom Penh Governor Khoung Sreng and French ambassador to Cambodia Eva Nguyen Binh yesterday at the City Hall.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said Ms Nguyen Binh said Phnom Penh’s many historical buildings from the French colonial era should be opened to the public to lure tourists.
“Governor Khoung Sreng said a French colonial-era building is being used by Phnom Penh City Hall as an administration office and that it will be opened to the public for one day by the end of September,” Mr Meas Pheakdey said.
Other heritage sites in Phnom Penh include the National Museum, Central Market, the Post and Telecommunication building, and the Finance Ministry building, all of which survived the brutal Khmer Rouge regime that destroyed or severely damaged other buildings.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts Thai Norak Satya said his ministry agreed with Ms Nguyen Binh’s initiative, saying that previously his ministry had prepared paperwork aimed at preserving the remaining heritage buildings not only in Phnom Penh, but across the country.
“We have regulations, including measures to preserve and repair historical buildings, especially the buildings from the French colonial era,” Mr Norak Satya said.
Mr Norak Satya added that privately owned historical buildings must also preserve culture by maintaining original architecture when doing any renovations.
“Even though those buildings belong to private owners, we want them to contribute to the government’s effort in preserving historical buildings,” Mr Norak Satya said.