As seen on The Vientiane Times
Laos, partners pledge ongoing cooperation in Vat Phou restoration
Laos and its partners will continue to cooperate in restoring and sustainably preserving many ruined structures at the World Heritage site of Vat Phou Champassak, which combines aspects of Khmer architecture and the Hindu religion.
Director of the Champassak provincial Information, Culture, and Tourism Department, Mr Bouathong Souvannasan, stressed the combined commitment to preserve the site during his welcome address at the 6th International Coordination Meeting on Thursday.
The meeting was hosted by the World Heritage Site Office in cooperation with the Korea Culture Heritage Foundation, Culture Heritage Administration of Korea, and the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The event was attended by experts from Korea, India, France and Laos, supported by the government of the Republic of Korea.
Vat Phou temple was dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva and is one of the most significant architectural sites anywhere in Southeast Asia, built more than 500 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.
The remains of the buildings still visible today mostly date from the 7th and 12th centuries.
Vat Phou was inscribed by UNESCO on the list of World Heritage Sites in 2001.
However, it will require a lot more work to preserve and restore the temple ruins and Laos is continuing discussions with partners regarding ongoing projects at the ancient site, Mr Bouathong said.
He hoped the Expert Advisory Group would continue to support efforts to efficiently restore and sustainably preserve Vat Phou’s ruined structures in line with international regulations.
Also speaking at the meeting, Korean Ambassador to Laos Mr Shin Sung-soon said conservation and restoration of the Vat Phou complex were progressing well when he visited the site in May.
He said he was impressed by the enthusiasm and the work ethic of all those involved in the project.
The Korean Ambassador said his government was committed to working with the Lao government and all relevant agencies and organisations including UNESCO, the World Heritage Site Office of Vat Phou and the international cooperation team from France, India, Cambodia, Italy, Japan and Germany.
Authorities are continuing the Lao-Korean cooperation project from 2012-2020 to preserve and restore the Hong Nang Sida temple which is located about one kilometre from Vat Phou.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 19, 2018)
Originally published in The Vientiane Times