A national prayer ceremony is set to take place at the Koh Ker temple complex to mark the recent inscription of the archaeological site in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, according to the National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV).

The event is expected to be attended by top government leaders and former Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The NAPV will suspend public visits to the site from 7am to 12pm on September 29 to facilitate the gathering. Its director-general Kong Puthika clarified that visits by tourists are paused specifically for the duration of the ritual.

“We perform this ceremony to honour and remember our forefathers and kings who built this monument for new generations,” Puthika said, also pointing out a significant increase in both national and international visitors since its UNESCO listing on September 17.

“They have visited the temple complex in great numbers and photographed it for promotion. We have been busy with a lot of guests,” he said, further expressing expectations that after the ceremony, focus on caring for the temple and developing tourism within the government’s budget would continue, encouraging involvement from both individuals and the private sector.

Prime Minister Hun Manet, in his September 20 message celebrating the inscription, urged the continuation of efforts to preserve the Khmer culture bestowed by ancestors.

“Please preserve this temple complex in the nation’s shadow of peace. All compatriots need to show solidarity in caring for and combating any activity that creates chaos and war. Our nation prospers now and will continue in this direction for years to come,” he said.