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Preah Vihear Temple Celebrates 15 Years as World Heritage Site

PREAH VIHEAR: Today marks the 15th anniversary of Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear joined the ranks of the Vatican and Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Taj Mahal on the prestigious list.

The Preah Vihear Temple stands atop a cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains which form a natural border between Thailand and Cambodia. The temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, was built by the Khmer Empire on a 9th century hermitage sight established under Jayavarman II (802-850AD).

A ceremony was held today to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Preah Vihear’s inscription and was attended by Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, Phoeurng Sackona, 77 monks, and the International Coordinating Committee that helped get the temple registered. The Preah Vihear Temple received about 6,000 visitors last month and is one of three World Heritage sites in Cambodia along with Angkor Wat and the Sambor Prei Kuk Temple Zone.

June 15 marked the 61st anniversary of the temple being officially ruled as belonging to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in 1962, following years of disputes with Thailand about the temple’s ownership. Recently, Thai authorities requested that Cambodia open access to the temple via Thailand, although no updates on the matter have been announced.

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