Conservation and Management of Preah Vihear Temple

@UNESCO/Chanthul Suos - Preah Vihear Temple, Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia

Assistance from the WHC, 2009-2010: 30,000$

The site of Preah Vihear Temple was inscribed in the World Heritage List on July 7th 2008 at the World Heritage Committee Meeting held in Quebec, Canada. The UNESCO Phnom Penh Office is now further collaborating with the Royal Government of Cambo­dia to implement the recommendations made by the Committee during its meetings in Quebec and later in Seville, requesting the establishment of an International Coordina­tion Committee (ICC) for future coordination and the finalization of the management plan.  

The Temple of Preah Vihear, a unique architectural complex of a series of sanctuar­ies linked by a system of pavements and staircases on an 800 meters long axis, is an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture. The World Heritage Committee has described the Preah Vihear Temple as “very pure both in plan and in the detail of its decoration.” With its development zone of 2,828.9 ha, the Preah Vihear Temple site has a core zone of 154.7 ha and a buffer zone of 2,642.5 ha. Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the Temple of Preah Vihear serves the purpose of a stylized representation of Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu God, Shiva. Nevertheless, its ancient history can be traced to the 11th and 12th centuries A.D., when the hermitage was constructed during the reigns of the Khmer kings Suryavarman I (1002 - 1050) and Suryavarman II (1113 -1150). This site is particularly well-preserved, mainly due to its remote location.

With the support from the World Heritage Center, experts from USA, Belgium, France and India together with Cambodian experts made a technical mission in 2009 to the temple and proposed 13 recommendations which were submitted to the Royal Government of Cambodia. Following this mission and through the adoption of a number of royal decrees, the Cambodian Government has taken important legal steps, such as the establishment of protected zones, the cre­ation of a National Authority for the Protection of the Site of the Preah Vihear Temple and the elaboration of the Preah Vihear Management Plan. Work has been carried out to enable better access to the monument from the Cambo­dian plain, especially through the historic eastern staircase. This site is to be developed into a major heritage and tourist site.  

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