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Experts mull World Heritage status for Koh Ker temple complex

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Koh Ker temple since 2018. Post Staff

Experts mull World Heritage status for Koh Ker temple complex

Technical officials from the National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV) and experts from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee have inspected a number of temples in the Koh Ker temple complex as part of the evaluation process required before the UN body moves forward with its designation as a World Heritage site in July 2022.

The temples inspected by experts on October 3 include Trapeang Ang Khna, Prasat Khtom, Prasat Damrei, Prasat Srolau, Prasat Krachab, Prasat Banteay Pir Choan, Prasat Prang, Prasat Tamen, Rohal, Prasat Chen and Prasat Pram.

They are among the approximately 50 temples in the complex.

NAPV director-general Kong Puthika, who is leading the research on the ancient monumental construction at Koh Ker, told The Post on October 4 that the visit was for the final assessment after a meeting on proposed tourism plans for the Koh Ker temple resort, prior to any decision being made on whether the temples will be added to the list of World Heritage sites.

"We are going to look at the land being proposed for registration, which is divided into three areas: the core area, the buffer zone and the satellite area, which Cambodia suggested to the [World Heritage] Committee in 2020.

"The experts’ visit is to assess these three areas so that the committee can take under consideration whether or not to register the Koh Ker site as a World Heritage site and do so with all of the information they need.

“So, after we submit these documents they will send experts for another visit to check-in and give feedback to the committee," he said.

According to Puthika, the committee’s final decision on whether to recognise Koh Ker as a World Heritage Site will be made at a meeting in July 2022.

He added that the international team of experts would make their decision based on three main areas of inquiry: the value of the temples culturally, opportunities for community participation and benefit, and the ability of Cambodia to successfully manage the Koh Ker resort once the World Heritage status is applied to it and its present fame thereby increases.

According to NAPV, the Koh Ker temple complex is located in Srayong commune of Preah Vihear province’s Kulen district, about 72km from Siem Reap province if travelling along road 211, or 49km from Preah Vihear town.

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