Cambodia gains UNESCO listing

KAMPONG THOM, 13 July 2017: The Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site in Kampong Thom province was listed as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO late last week.

According to the UNESCO, the archaeological site was recognised along with Kulangsu, an international historic settlement in China and the historic city of Ahmadabad in India.

The archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, has been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late sixth and early seventh centuries CE.

Credit: UNESCO

The vestiges of the city cover an area of 25 sq km and include a walled city centre as well as numerous temples, 10 of which are octagonal, unique examples of their genre in Southeast Asia, UNESCO said.

Decorated sandstone elements in the site are characteristic of the pre-Angkor decorative idiom, known as the Sambor Prei Kuk Style. Some of these elements, including lintels, pediments and colonnades, are true masterpieces. The art and architecture developed here became models for other parts of the region and lay the ground for the unique Khmer style of the Angkor period.

Cambodia currently has two temple complexes on the list of World Heritage Sites – Angkor Wat, which was listed in 1992, and Preah Vihear, which was listed in 2008. Both are deemed to be tangible culture heritages.