More than 500 hectares of land surrounding the old mountaintop capital of Odong were designated protected areas in a royal decree approved by the Council of Ministers Friday.
Seventy-nine hectares of mountaintop land was set aside to preserve cultural heritage. Another 217 hectares will be used to develop tourism, while 212 hectares will be preserved to protect the environment.
Penn Thol said construction of new buildings without government approval is now banned.
“Odong was the capital of Cambodia before Phnom Penh. It has stupas of Buddha, and stupas of previous kings,” said Penn Thol, spokesperson for the Council of Ministers. “It has the potential to be a tourist destination.”
Odong, located 40 km north of Phnom Penh, served as Cambodia’s capital from 1618 to 1866. Historical stupas and an expansive view of the Cambodian countryside have made it a day-trip excursion for tourists visiting Phnom Penh.