Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Temple ‘not Angkor Wat replica’

Temple ‘not Angkor Wat replica’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The temple being constructed in the Ban Sing sub-district of Nang Rong district in Buri Ram province. FACEBOOK

Temple ‘not Angkor Wat replica’

After pictures of a structure being built in Thailand sparked heated debate on social media over its resemblance to the Angkor Wat temple, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts issued a press statement saying it was not a replica.

The ministry said it had worked with the Cambodian embassy and relevant parties in Thailand to collect information and will continue to monitor the case.

The structure, it explained, was one of several concrete temples built for Buddhist religious purposes at a pagoda in the Ban Sing sub-district of Nang Rong district in Buri Ram province. It is made of concrete and metal rebar inside and covered with sandstone outside.

“With clarification and presentation of documents and maps of the construction, the head monk at the pagoda said the construction did not follow the architectural plan or style of Angkor Wat, or any other temple in Cambodia. The structure was designed in a style similar to the architecture of other temples in the region,” the ministry said.

It said the pagoda welcomed any requests to send experts in architecture from Cambodia to inspect the construction to clear any suspicions.

“The culture ministry expresses profound thanks to our compatriots who always take responsibility for the protection and promotion of the national prestige and identity and its invaluable arts. The ministry will continue to follow this issue with care,” the ministry said.

History professor Sambor Mannara said on July 7 that Cambodians have to study history clearly before claiming that any structure is copied from that of Angkor Wat temple.

“What is important is that we have to prove which part of this structure is copied from Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Have we studied this enough to know – especially the younger generations who are just learning – or just speaking out of fear?” he asked.

He said to allay fears that Thailand might have copied Khmer architectural structures, Cambodians need to learn the history of the region and of Khmer architectural structures in order to protect them.

“I don’t believe that they are trying the build the temple to be like Angkor Wat. It will never be exactly alike. It can be similar or in the same style, but Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century and now it is the 21st century.

“They can use sandstone, but the insides are cement and metal rebar. Our Khmer heritage is so invaluable that we have to join hands in protecting it, but not out of fear,” he said.

He said Buri Ram was formerly part of the Khmer Empire and it was a place where a lot of temples were constructed so it makes sense that Thai people would construct ones that look like the ancient temples in their area because it is also a part of their heritage as well.

Nevertheless, he said Cambodia must follow international law and enforce its rights in case a structure being built is actually identical to Angkor Wat.

“When it comes to this point, it’s UNESCO that is partly responsible because Angkor Wat was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992 and that would seem to imply some copyright or protections,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be