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CHA to help with Angkor Wat preservation efforts

Feb. 20, 2024 - 13:36 By Choi Si-young
The Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. (Cultural Heritage Administration)

The Cultural Heritage Administration will aid Cambodia’s efforts to preserve its signature temple complex Angkor Wat for the next three years starting this year.

The latest joint project marks the fifth time Cambodia has sought out such outside help -- following the US, Germany, Italy and Japan -- according to the South Korean agency, which inked a memorandum of understanding with the Apsara National Authority on Monday.

“The temple complex is a symbolic cultural heritage site in Cambodia, and we believe the three-year project will leave a mark in the history of our official development assistance (ODA),” a CHA official said.

ODA efforts, the official added, were first discussed last year and will include setting up centers to promote the World Heritage Site, a status recognized in 1992 by UNESCO.

Last year, the CHA launched another ODA project on Egypt. The Korea National University of Cultural Heritage, run by the agency, will set up a center within the Manial Palace Museum in Cairo that will keep digital replicas of key pieces of cultural heritage currently housed in six state-run institutions in the Egyptian capital.

The antiquities to be digitized include papyrus, maps and books, according to KNUCH officials, who added the same process will take place for artifacts held at the Luxor Museum -- known for its archaeological collections connected to Egyptian pharaohs.

KNUCH is expected to take charge of what the agency hopes to be a five-year project, though officials at KNUCH are unsure of a definitive timeline. The school, given 5.2 billion won ($3.88 million) for this year to complete the job, will for the first time employ locals to assist the project.