China plays significant role in safeguarding, development of Preah Vihear Temple

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China plays significant role in safeguarding, development of Preah Vihear Temple

PHNOM PENH China has played a significant role in the safeguarding and development of the UNESCO-listed Preah Vihear Temple in northern Cambodia, Cambodian officials said recently.

Preah Vihear is a Hindu temple located on the top of a 525 meter cliff in the Dangrek Mountains in Preah Vihear province. It is located about 400 kilometers north of the capital Phnom Penh and 200 km northwest of the famed Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province.

The 11th century temple was inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2008.

Kong Puthikar, the director-general of the National Authority for Preah Vihear, said China is co-chair of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and the Development of Preah Vihear with India.

The ICC-Preah Vihear was established in 2014 and is the international mechanism for coordination of all the assistance provided by different countries and organizations for the preservation and development of Preah Vihear.

This is an important role in helping the Cambodian government in safeguarding the Temple of Preah Vihear, a World Heritage Site, Puthikar says.

In his role as the co-chair, China has pledged to conserve and restore Gopura I, Gopura II and Gopura III. There are five gopuras at the Preah Vihear temple he says.

The entrance gateway to the temple is a gopura.

He says China has sent a technical team to study and assess the risks and structure of the three gopuras already. The actual work hasn't started yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Puthikar says that with the experience of working with the world heritage sites in China, the Chinese experts will be well prepared to help restore the Temple of Preah Vihear in the near future.

A director of the National Authority for Preah Vihear's Department of Conservation and Archaeology, Ea Darith, says that prior to the COVID 19 outbreak, Chinese archaeologists visited the temple to conduct a conservation study and assess the extent of restoration work required.

China is a very important partner in conserving and restoring the ruined Preah Vihear Temple, Darith says.

He says that Chinese experts should be asked to provide training for the Geographic Information System to our Cambodian archaeologists, as well as new technical skills for conservation, perseveration, and stone research and analysis.

Preah Vihear is one of three Cambodian sites registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The two other two are the Angkor Archaeological Park in northwestern Siem Reap province and the Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site in central Kampong Thom province.

Kong Vibol, the director of the Preah Vihear Provincial Tourism Department, believes that the Preah Vihear temple will be a popular destination for Chinese tourists in the post-pandemic era.

Thanks to Cambodia's attractive tourism sites and the proximity of the two countries, I believe that more Chinese tourists will visit the Preah Vihear temple in the future, and some of them will definitely visit the Preah Vihear temple, he says.