Tourists eye Cam­bo­dia’s new her­itage site as coun­try hopes for eco­nomic lift

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

PHNOM PENH, Cam­bo­dia — Tourists flocked to Cam­bo­dia’s new­est World Her­itage site at the week­end af­ter it was added to the United Na­tions cul­tural list last week.

The 16th and 17 th cen­tury for­est tem­ple of Sam­bor Prei Kuk is the lat­est at­trac­tion in the coun­try that attracts tourists from all over the world, who of­ten make a bee­line for the Angkor Wat tem­ple com­plex, an­other World Her­itage site.

On July 8, UNESCO added Sam­bor Prei Kuk or “tem­ple in the rich­ness of the for­est” in the Kh­mer lan­guage to its her­itage list.

Lo­cated 206 kilo­me­ters north of the cap­i­tal Phnom Penh, it is home to numer­ous tem­ples, 10 of which are oc­tag­o­nal.

UNESCO said Sam­bor Prei Kuk had been iden­ti­fied as Ishana­pura, the cap­i­tal of the an­cient Chenla Em­pire, a Kh­mer civ­i­liza­tion that flour­ished in the late 6th and 7 th cen­turies and pre­ceded the Kh­mer Em­pire.

It joins the Angkor Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Park and the Preah Vi­hear tem­ple, lo­cated on the Thai-Cam­bo­dia bor­der, world her­itage sites.

Cam­bo­dian tourists vis­ited Sambo Prei Kuk on Satur­day. One cou­ple took wed­ding pho­tos at the site.

“Now that it is listed as the world her­itage site, I hope that our peo­ple will ben­e­fit a lot from this and I say many thanks to our an­ces­tors who built this and kept it for us un­til this gen­er­a­tion,” said Sem Norm, a tem­ple guard, who said he has been tak­ing care of the tem­ples since 1994.

Oth­ers hope tourism will help boost the lo­cal econ­omy. as

“When we have more tourists then the peo­ple here can get more in­come by sell­ing the sou­venirs and our kids can even learn English lan­guage eas­ily,” said tourist Uch Srey Leakhena.

Thou­sands are ex­pected to cel­e­brate the list­ing of Sambo Prei Kuk as a world her­itage site on Mon­day.

Tourist arrivals in Cam­bo­dia rose 5 per­cent to 5 mil­lion last year. About 5.5 mil­lion tourists are ex­pected to visit the coun­try this year.

SAMRANG PRING / REUTERS

Tourists visit the Sam­bor Prei Kuk tem­ple, which was listed as a UNESCO World Her­itage site last week, in Kam­pong Thom prov­ince, Cam­bo­dia, on Satur­day. Thou­sands are ex­pected to visit the tem­ple on Mon­day to cel­e­brate its in­clu­sion on the list.

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