Thailand prepares more sites for the world heritage list

Thailand announces ongoing fact-finding programmes to propose five new sites into Unesco’s World Heritage Site list by next year. Among the sites are the ancient cities of Chiang Saen and Suvannakhomkham, which shares Laotian territory; the Lanna kingdom in the north, as well as the Srivijaya-Nakhon Si Tammarat cultural route.

Slanted Roof
photo credit: The Wandering Angel

Ministry to seek heritage status for ancient cities
The Nation, 4 June 2009

The Culture Ministry believes a centuries-old complex of companion cities along the Mekong River on both Thai and Lao soil should receive world heritage status.

The site is called the Transboundary of Archaeological Urban Complex of Chiang Saen and Suvannakhomkham.

“It is between 500 and 600 years old,” Culture Minister Teera Slukpetch said yesterday, and is where Chinese and Indian civilisations blended with local tradition into unique, outstanding cultures – precursors of today’s Thailand and the Lao PDR.

“The Fine Arts Department is compiling relevant information. It is expected to complete the task next year, after which we will seek worldheritage status from Unesco,” the culture minister said.

Teera said the department would also compile information for worldheritage consideration for four other historic sites: the Srivijaya – Nakhon Si Thammarat Sathingphra cultural route in the south; Lannacivilisation icons in the north; the cultural landscape along the Chao Phaya River in the Central region; and Prince Narisara Nuvativongse’s architectural works from the Rattanakosin period.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “Thailand prepares more sites for the world heritage list”

  1. There’s a lot of new ideas for World Heritage submissions in Thailand showing up in the press and then disappearing, and never to be seen at least in the tentative list at UNESCO. But nevertheless, there are still lots of sites in Thailand IMHO worthy of becoming a world heritage, and those Srivijaya remains in southern Thailand is clearly one of it. I blogged on the Wat Mahathat in Nakhon Si Thammarat once, and also the historical sites in Chaiya (Surat Thani) are very interesting. I just hope they won’t use the fame then to introduce or raise the entrance fees then.

  2. I fully endorse Andy’s suggestion. In fact, the Srivijaya
    empire’s trunk route for transoceanic trade in south east asia started with the first entry port at Takuapa (oldname
    Takola) in the Andamans. Thus Takuapa, Chaiya, Surathani, Nakorn si Thammarat, are the main centres which formed an integral part of the Srivijaya empire which stretched
    beyond Malaysia . Very soon Malaysia is submitting their request for including their Bujang Valley (Kedah) area to be a UNESCO world heritage site.

    It is therefore in the fitness of things that Thailand takes up these centres in “silkroute of the south” as its next agenda for UNESCO. Historical importance of Takuapa
    is enormous. There were settlements of international merchant community in thhis zone, and mor evidences are being gathered by archaeological finds. This area has
    both tangible as well as intangible resources to be declared a World heritage complex involving 4 cities. This zone hasits own cultural uniqueness ,an intermingling of Buddhist, Hindu as well as islamic influences,places this entire zone in a totally different footing.

    Steps are afoot to build a gigantic temple for the majestic Mahavishnu statue with Sridevi and Bhoodevi found at the
    Takuapa zone. A foundation has already been registered to undertake this gigantic sacred effort with the cooperation of all the communities in the Andaman zone, including interested members from Malaysia. Help is sought from the authoities in India too to help this cause.

    A University is also being conceived at this zone.
    All the wellwishers of Andaman area must lend support to
    move the Government of Thailand to promote the cause of
    declaring this zone as World Heritage site by taking appropriate preparatory steps.

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