Cambodia nominates third heritage listing

Cambodia’s deputy prime minister Sok An says Kampong Thom province’s Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex will be the next Cambodian site nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex

Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex

The seventh-century complex, which predates Angkor Wat by by at least 200 years, was first submitted to UNESCO as part of a tentative list of Cambodian sites in 1992, but its inclusion on the body’s official World Heritage List was shelved in recent years.

Government spokesman, Ek Tha said the campaign to gain inclusion on the list would resume.

“There is nothing difficult about the process… Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex has all the aspects; preservation and management plan.”

The government hopes that inscription on the World Heritage List will help “mobilise donations” to contribute to the restoration of the temple complex and foster the development of sustainable tourism at the site, the spokesman added.

The Pre-Angkorian temple complex of Sambor Prei Kuk is located about 30 km north of Kampong Thom town. It was also known as Isanapura, and was the capital of the ChenlaKingdom.

Located on the eastern bank of Tonle Sap close to the Sen River, the central part of Sambor Prei Kuk is divided into three main sectors, each located in a square layout surrounded by a brick wall.

The structures of the overall area were constructed at different times: the southern and north areas (7th century) by Isanavarman I, and the central cluster (at a yet to be determined date).

The buildings of Sambor Prei Kuk are characteristic of the Pre-Angkorean period with a simple external plan. The principal material is brick, but sandstone is also used for certain structures.

Architectural features include numerous prasats, octagonal towers, shiva lingams and yonis, ponds and reservoirs, and lion sculptures.

Cambodia already has two sites included on the UNESCO list – Angkor, which was inscribed in 1992, and Preah Vihear temple, which was inscribed in 2008.

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