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Temple restoration gets US cash

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
The temple restoration is one of many preservation projects being funded by the US. KT/Mom Kunthear

The United States has provided $350,000 to the World Monuments Fund for the fifth phase of the conservation of Phnom Bakheng temple in Siem Reap province’s Angkor Archaeological Park.

The grant-signing ceremony was held at the top of Phnom Bakheng Mountain in Siem Reap on Tuesday between Apsara Authority officials, executives from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and WMF.

WMF vice president Lisa Ackerman said the restoration of Phnom Bakheng temple is one of many projects being carried out through cooperation between the Apsara Authority and the WMF.

“This new grant shows a good relationship between the Apsara Authority and the World Monuments Fund, which is a key foundation,” she said.

Cambodia is among nine countries, including Bolivia, Myanmar, Israel, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Thailand, which has received assistance for the preservation of ancient and historical sites through the US Department of State’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Phnom Bakheng is the oldest temple from the Angkor era. Since 2008, the Phnom Bakheng conservation project has focussed on stabilising and restoring the east half of the central temple and improving water management at the site.

The fifth phase of the project will advance and complete the restoration of the east half of the central temple according to the restoration design that was set in previous phases.

The project will also reinstate the temple’s original structure and water management system by using both traditional and modern materials.

Martin Persuhler, programme director of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, said this project is a true example of the highest standards of conservation at Angkor Park.

“The project is training Cambodian architects and archaeologists to be future leaders in these fields,” he said.

“Drawing on the talents and skills of Cambodian architects has made this project a true success.”

Since 2004, WMF has received more than $3.2 million from the US to preserve the Phnom Bakheng temple.In addition to Phnom Bakheng, the US has also provided grants to help preserve other significant cultural heritage sites in Cambodia, including Han Chey temple in Kampong Cham province and Phnom Da temple in Angkor Borey, Takeo province.

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