Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. UNESCO has set up a wide-range of programs to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings. China has recently joined international efforts to help Cambodia preserve the cultural heritage site.
Tourism is the second major industry of Cambodia. And Angkor is definitely the trademark of Cambodian tourism. Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, is honored as the seventh wonder on the planet. As the best preserved architecture of the Angkor remains, Angkor Wat has become the symbol of the country.
There are more than 1,000 ancient cultural remains all around Cambodia. The principal temple of the Angkorian region, Angkor Wat, was built between 1113 and 1150 by King Suryavarman II.
In 1992, the entire expanse, including Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom is collectively protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings. More than 10 countries, including China, have joined in the international protection and restoration.
“Nearly 3 million tourists have seen the original look of Chau Say Tevoda, and the signs written in Chinese, English and Cambodian near the temple. That shows China’s outstanding engineering and technical capabilities in restoring ancient sites,” said Phay Siphan, State Secretary of Council of Ministers, Cambodia.
Back in 1998, China has sent professional team to participate in the protection and renovation of Chau Say Tevoda. After 10 years of painstaking work, its original structure and artistic scene have been regained in 2008. And China’s aid has won high acclaim from the Cambodian government and the UNESCO.
“The successful restoration of Chau Say Tevoda shows China's power on politics and economy, as well as on culture,” said Phay Siphan.
The friendships between Chinese and Cambodian people started from more than 2,000 year ago, which is much longer than any other countries who have also participate in the programme.
In 2009, China and Cambodia have reached an agreement that Chinese government would provide 40 million yuan (U.S.$6 million) on protecting and restoring Ta Keo. The construction will complete in eight years.
“1.5 million Cambodian people appreciate China’s participation. We are grateful to see that Chinese leaders and people pay great attention to the world cultural heritage. We expect the Ta Keo renovation to be very successful, which will showcase China’s remarkable technology on that,” said Phay Siphan.
Since 2010, “Smile of Angkor,” a performance sponsored by China and jointly created by the artistic of the two sides, has been presented in Angkor as a residency show. The extravaganza is honored by the audience members as a living cultural and artistic museum of Cambodia.