Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

A Cambodian delegation, led by culture minister Phoeurng Sackona, celebrated on September 17 as Koh Ker was officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. mcfa
A Cambodian delegation, led by culture minister Phoeurng Sackona, celebrated on September 17 as Koh Ker was officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. MCFA

Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20.

Venerable Om Lim Heng, chief monk of the Buddhist Mohanikaya sect, also issued a notice to all pagodas, instructing them to mark the historic accomplishment.

“We call on chief monks and deputies to get ready to celebrate the occasion by ringing bells and banging gongs at all pagodas, meditation centres and parish halls across the country at 7am on September 20,” read the notice.

In his message celebrating the inscription while on his China visit, Prime Minister Hun Manet referred to the day, September 17, as “another source of national pride on the international stage”.

Religion minister Chay Borin also issued a notice advising all religion departments and every religious school throughout the country to cooperate closely with chief monks, abbots and spiritual leaders to hit bells, drums and shake wooden rattles in celebration of the inscription.

Former Prime Minister Hun Sen, who remains president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), shared his gratitude to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for adding the temple complex to the World Heritage List.

“I also thank the government and each relevant ministry and institution for the work leading to such an excellent result for the nation,” he said in a September 17 social media post.

He noted that the temple complex was the former capital of the Khmer Empire during the reign of Jayavarman IV in the 900s, from 928AD until 941AD.

The CPP also issued a statement in celebration of the temple complex’s admission.

“We express our deep admiration and thanks to the government of the sixth and seventh mandates as well as all relevant ministries and institutions in the reign of King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother [Norodom Monineath Sihanouk] for working tirelessly since 2018 to prepare application forms and achieve this excellent result,” it said.

A bird’s-eye view of the Koh Ker temple complex in Preah Vihear province. MOI
A bird’s-eye view of the Koh Ker temple complex in Preah Vihear province. MOI

Chhort Bunthang, a Cultural Relations, Tourism and Education researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, echoed the sentiment, saying this success is a new source of pride for Cambodia.

“Every Cambodian should mark this occasion. Whether through beating drums, social media publicity or the attention of the domestic and international media, this should inspire people to realise what a wonderful and important thing the government has done for the nation,” he told The Post on September 18.

He believes that both the government and the public should all participate in the care, protection and promotion of the temple complex because celebrating on September 20 but failing to protect it in the future would be terrible.

Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Um Reatrey also called the listing another source of pride for Cambodia and her people.

“In celebration of this historic event, the provincial administration has advised public and private institutions, pagodas and schools – and the general public – across the province to make as much noise as they can at 7am on September 20,” he said.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Cambodia also conveyed a congratulatory message marking the occasion. “Congratulations to Cambodia’s new achievement: Koh Ker temple was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on 17 September, 2023.”


  • Ministry taking steps over Thai ‘replica’ of Angkor Wat

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has dispatched experts to inspect the ongoing construction of a temple in Wat Phu Man Fah, located in Thailand’s Buriram province. This temple appears to be a replica of Cambodia’s renowned Angkor Wat. The ministry said

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.

  • Thavisin touches down in Phnom Penh for first official visit to an ASEAN member state

    Thailand's newly appointed prime minister Srettha Thavisin has arrived in Cambodia for a one-day visit. The trip marks his first visit to an ASEAN country since taking office and aims to enhance bilateral trade and investment. According to the agenda, Thavisin is scheduled to hold