Mission to Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia


Sambor Prei Kuk, the Ancient City of Ishanapura is currently undergoing assessment and evaluation and will be considered for possible inscription on the World Heritage List at the 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, in 2017.

Built and occupied in the 6th and 7th Centuries, Sambor Prei Kuk was the capital of the Chela Empire. As an archaeological site, the property demonstrates town planning, architecture and religous worship on a monumental scale through numerous surviving temples, hydraulic features and archaeological sites. The remnant buildings, built mostly in brick, display distinctive style and designs and include ornate and unusual design features.

The assessment process includes expert technical evaluation by ICOMOS as one of the official Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. The evaluation process is very thorough and includes a Mission to the Property, desktop technical review by international experts, plus consideration by a separate panel of ICOMOS experts.tower-n1

Richard Mackay undertook the field mission to the property on behalf of ICOMOS in September 2016, visiting many of the ancient prasats, canals and causeways, as well as contemporary villages and new visitor facilities. The inspection will inform an evaluation of the integrity and authenticity of the property – a key aspect of potential Outstanding Universal Value. Another important element of the mission involved consideration of the statutory protection and management arrangements, through review of documents, inspection of facilities and interviews with the new staff of the Sambor Prei Kuk National Authority.

Richard’s report will be submitted to ICOMOS as part of the eighteen-month-long evaluation which will ultimately help the World Heritage Committee to determine whether this place has Outstanding Universal Value and warrants inscription as Cambodia’s third World Heritage property, following Angkor and Preah Vihear.