Gov’t Approves Plan to Define Temple Zones

The Council of Ministers on Fri­day approved plans to define protection zones around Koh Ker temple in Preah Vihear province and Beng Melea temple in Siem Reap province.

The ministers approved draft doc­uments that set development zones around each monument, similar to the ones at Angkor.

The royal decree on Koh Ker and the subdecree on Beng Mel­ea create protection zones around the temples, in which no development will be permitted, buffer zones with controlled development, and an area op­­en to development, said Bun Na­­r­ith, executive director of Ap­sara Authority, the government ag­ency that manages the Angkor temples.

Koh Ker, which is located about 80 km north of Siem Reap town, was built in the 10th century when King Jayavarman IV moved the capital of his Khmer kingdom from Angkor to the area.

Less than two decades later his successor, King Rajendravarman II, would return to Angkor and abandon Koh Ker to the jungle, where the pyramid temple still stands 35 meters high.

Beng Melea, whose compound cov­ers one square km, is thought to be the prototype for Angkor Wat. Built at the end of the 11th century and the start of the 12th, it in­cludes covered galler­ies with vaul­ted ceilings and elaborately carved lintels and door frames. It lies 60 km from Angkor Wat.

Japanese teams from Sophia University Angkor International Mission are conducting preliminary surveys for the preservation of both temples.

Since it is in Siem Reap prov­ince, Beng Melea is under Apsara authority, while the Min­is­try of Culture and Fine Arts is in charge of Koh Ker, Bun Nar­ith said.


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