PHNOM PENH: Cambodian residents can expect an early commotion on Wednesday morning as the country celebrates the inscription of its fourth UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Cambodian delegation attended the World Heritage Committee session in Saudi Arabia over the weekend with one goal in mind. On the afternoon of September 17, Koh Ker Temple was officially inscribed on the World Heritage List after over 30 years on the Tentative List and two years of active registration for the title.
The Royal Government has instructed all ministries, institutions and the general public to join in beating drums, ringing gongs and making noise in celebration at 7 am on September 20 in honor of Koh Ker’s new title. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet proudly announced the inscription saying, "Preservation and protection of national heritage is the duty of every Cambodian.”
This is the fourth physical World Heritage Site in Cambodia after Angkor, Preah Vihear and Sambor Prei Kuk temples. Cambodia is also home to six Intangible Cultural Heritage properties including martial arts (Kun Lbokator), shadow theater (Sbek Thom) and the Royal Ballet. The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has been submitting registration documents for the Koh Ker temple to UNESCO since January 2021.
The Koh Ker Temple complex covers an area of more than 8,700 hectares in Preah Vihear’s Kulen district. The structure is about 35 meters high, divided into seven tiered levels. The temple was built during the Angkorian period under the reign of Jayavarman IV in the 10th century and dedicated to a Hindu deity named Tribhuvanesvara, an iteration of Shiva. Within the entire temple complex are 127 temples and religious buildings, of which 56 temples have maintained their structure.