Battambang provincial authorities and Unesco officials last week proposed starting the lengthy process of listing Battambang City as a world heritage city.
Unesco country representative Anne Lemaistre said that her organization had suggested it could help Battambang officials begin carrying out an inventory of heritage sites in the city including pagodas, archaeological areas and architecture.
“Battambang City could position itself as a heritage and cultural city, and build its image and economic potential on this,” she said.
In the meantime, she said, the city could look into using its living cultural riches—Phare Ponleu Selpak’s circus and arts schools, the city’s art galleries and artist community—to market its special character in tourism as part of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network.
Battambang provincial governor Chan Sophal said Tuesday that the meeting had been called to find ways to stop the demolition of historical buildings.
“The provincial authorities initiated the idea of conserving historical buildings constructed during the French colony and in previous generations,” he said. “So we contacted Unesco and the Ministry of Tourism to help protect those buildings.”
naren@cambodiadaily.com, vachon@cambodiadaily.com
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