06 Jan 2015
PHNOM PENH Restoration work on the Preah Pithu Temple, inside the Angkor Wat World Heritage site, has gained a USD4 million grant from Korea International Cooperation Agency.
Apsara Authority general director, Bun Narith, and Korean International Cooperation Agency head, Baek Sook Hee, signed the agreement last week.
Apsara Authority general director, Bun Narith, said the three-year restoration project will begin this January.
“Preah Pithu Temple has been left in a ruined-state for many years. The government called for development partners to help fund to restore this temple and now the Korean government through KOICA has agreed to fund this project.”
inside no 2However, KOICA head, Baek Sook Hee, added that an assessment to determine how best to spend the USD4 million would still need to be completed.
There is growing criticism as Apsara earns a massive income in fee revenue from the Angkor Wat World Heritage Park, but information on how much it channels back for restoration or to support local community welfare remains closed to pubic scrutiny.
According to Baek Sook Hee, “KOICA will start to study the general situation of the temple to find the possibility and capacity to spend the funding effectively in conservation of the temple and at the same time increase economic growth in the area.”
“The restoration of the temple will make Preah Pithu another tourist attraction in addition to other heritage temples, Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple,” she said, without elaborating on Apsara’s funding role.
Cambodian Association of Travel Agents president, Ang Kim Eang, noted: “One more temple means visitors will have more places to visit and that will encourage them to stay longer.”
Preah Pithu is a group of five temples located in Angkor, northeast of the Bayon, in front of Tep Pranam. Preah Pithu Temple was built in the first half of the 12th century by Suryavarman II (reign 1113 to 1150).