Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hope grows for three cities to be inducted into UNESCO list



Hope grows for three cities to be inducted into UNESCO list

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Many French colonial-era buildings have been converted into restaurants and hotel chains. This particular building in Battambang is host to a number of cafes and shops. Siv Meng

Hope grows for three cities to be inducted into UNESCO list

Sitting on the porch of her classical house which was left from the French colony period, Prum Angkim is occupying herself with her daily evening repose while she takes in the view of the Psar Nat market – the biggest historical building in Battambang city.

Angkim’s house is located directly opposite from the bustling market in the heart of Battambang – an area splattered with houses that have remained more or less intact from the French colony period across the Kingdom.

Angkim, originally from Banteay Meanchey province, said Battambang city was increasingly becoming more modern and was growing in appeal for people of all ages.

“This city is so beautiful, and I love it so much,” she said, adding that an increasing number of architectural vestige enthusiasts, both local and international, were flocking into the city to appreciate the historical buildings while soaking up the local culture.

Battambang’s rich heritage has always been finely balanced with the city’s infrastructure, as witnessed firsthand by Sun Bunsen, a police officer in Battambang city.

“The city still has a lot of houses left from the French colonial era, which is the main factor contributing to the flourishing flow of foreigners,” he said.

“I predict that there will be an even larger number of foreigners that will visit in the future when the city is finally enlisted as part of the UNESCO world heritage cities.”

Via the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Ministry of Tourism, the government is progressing with a set of relevant documents as a proposal to UNESCO to induct Battambang city, Kampot city and Kratie city on to the United Nations arm’s World Heritage Cities Program.

The process is two years into an earmarked three-year evaluation period, with government officials stating in early 2015 that it would take three years for the government to collate enough evidence to meet UNESCO’s selection for each of the three cities. Currently, Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat and the Temple of Preah Vihear are both registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Psar Nat market in Battambang is the city’s largest preserved historical building. Siv Meng

Eum Sokhom, head of the tourism advisory board representing Battambang city, said there were 800 remaining houses left from the French colonial era which dates back to as early as the 1800s. Most of the houses, which the city is working to conserve, are situated in Sangkat Svay Pao and Sangkat Wat Kor – the main attraction sites for tourists.

“Aside from the constructions left over from the French colony era, Battambang is also home to many ancient pagodas,” Sokhom said.

“Today, the areas with a lot of historical significance have become the residency and a business playground for many foreigners,” he added.

Run Pheara, director of the Ministry of Tourism in Kratie, said the city’s capital was indeed filled with a lot of houses, which he said have been well maintained, from the country’s French colonial rule.

“Kratie city is attracting a huge number of tourists, especially those from Europe. Last year, the city had 26,000 tourists coming to visit the city,” he said, adding, “If the city can be included as part of the world heritage city, I think it will most definitely garner more tourists and French colonial architecture advocates.”

Kratie governor Sar Chamrong said naming Kratie as the second city to be inducted into the world heritage city list was part of the plan that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Ministry of Tourism proposed to the heads of government because of the city’s ample French colonial history.

Meanwhile, the coastal province of Kampot is also beaming with infrastructure from the colonial period.

Chan Chesda, Kampot’s governor, said the construction that remains from the French colonial era in the province had not been demolished but had rather been placed under a fiercely guarded conservation protection scheme.

Minister of Tourism, Thong Khun, confirmed to Post Property that the ministry, together with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, was progressing on time with the necessary documentation required for the proposal to induct the three cities into the UNESCO world heritage city list.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’