Bagan redraws heritage zones

TTR Weekly, 20 June 2017

Bagan’s World Heritage zone will skirt existing buildings and in some areas be extended to ensure communities do not lose residences or buildings.

The city is preparing its presentation, which will be the framework for a comprehensive request for UNESCO World Heritage recognition, but considerable pressure from residents who stood to lose property has now prompted revisions of the strict zoning that was earlier proposed.

Source: Bagan redraws heritage zones : TTR Weekly

Bagan World Heritage zone to be extended

Myanmar Times, 15 June 2017:

Efforts to list Bagan as a UNESCO World Heritage site are underway and an application could be made by September, U Aung Aung Kyaw, director of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum in Bagan, has told The Myanmar Times.

Source: Bagan World Heritage zone to be extended

Is Unesco status a blessing or a burden? New paper discusses Southeast Asian examples

From the Cambodia Daily and the Journal of Cultural Heritage:

The global recognition given to the Angkor temple complex in Siem Reap—and other sites around the world that receive U.N. world heritage status—does as much to damage as it does to preserve the historical gem, according to a new research paper.

The paper, published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage and made available online last week, outlines how recognition from Unesco is used as a tourism marketing tool, resulting in more visitor traffic to cultural sites, which threatens their short- and long-term sustainability.

Source: World Heritage Status, Tourists Threaten Angkor Preservation – The Cambodia Daily

See the journal article here: Is UNESCO World Heritage recognition a blessing or burden? Evidence from developing Asian countries

To both acknowledge and protect many cultural heritage expressions, sites and practices, UNESCO has instituted three conventions; Tangible Heritage, Intangible Heritage and Diversity of Cultural Expression. If a site/practice receives this UNESCO badge, it is an acknowledgment of its universal cultural and/or natural value as well as recognition of the need to protect it from harm. However, the UNESCO badge is an important marketing tool in world tourism and its presence ensures many more visitors to a site/practice that is UNESCO recognised. With increasing wealth and mobility, many more people are travelling than was possible even a decade ago. Increasing numbers of visitors can negatively impact on a site/practice as well as affect the local culture and integrity of a region, particularly in developing countries. So, is the UNESCO recognition a blessing or burden? This paper addresses the challenges that ensue from the UNESCO conventions by considering three UNESCO World Heritage case study sites in Asian developing countries. In particular, it seeks to understand the extent to which UNESCO’s World Heritage approach protects or further undermines the cultural heritage sustainability of these sites.

International diplomats visit Phu Phra Bat

The Thai government hosted a visit to the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park for diplomatic guests to raise support for its bid to put the park into the Unesco World Heritage register.

Phu Phra Bat visit. Source: The Nation 20150302
Phu Phra Bat visit. Source: The Nation 20150302

Rocks of worship
The Nation, 02 March 2015

The Culture Ministry takes diplomats, art experts and the press to Phu Phrabat Historical Park, recently nominated for World Heritage Site status

Since its nomination by the Thai Culture Ministry to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s World Heritage head office in Paris at the beginning of the year, the prehistoric site of Phu Phrabat Historical Park in Udon Thani has seen a massive surge in visitors.

Among the most recent visitors was a group of some 50 diplomats and art experts from 26 countries, including foreign ambassadors and their spouses, who were invited by the ministry to take part in a cultural trip to both Phu Phrabat and Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Located on a mountain in Ban Phue district and surrounded by lush forest, Phu Phrabat Historical Park dates back to the prehistoric era. The area is home to hundreds of unusual rock formations left behind by a slow-moving glacier millions of years ago. Many of the ruins and objects have been fashioned from materials found locally and include, for instance, a rock decorated as a stupa and another chiselled into the shape of a foot. Prehistoric rock paintings, sandstone images and idols abound. The site was declared a historical park by the Fine Arts Department in 1991 and in 2004 was put on the “tentative list” for World Heritage status.

Full story here.

The Thang Long Citadel

A Xinhua feature on the Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi.


Thang Long Imperial Citadel stands as historical testament to Vietnam’s power center
Xinhua, via Global Post, 27 February 2015

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel, located at the heart of Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi, has borne witness to the long history of the country as it has been a continuous seat of political power for almost thirteen centuries.

The Thang Long (Ascending Dragon) Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty (1010-1225), to mark the independence of the Dai Viet, as Vietnam was known at that time.

It was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the seventh century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. The Imperial Citadel and the remains of the 18 Hoang Dieu archaeological site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture, specific to the lower Red River Valley, cites the introduction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on its website.

Full story here.

photo by:

Myanmar prepares Mrauk U for World Heritage listing

Besides Bagan, Mrauk U in Rakhine state is the next cultural property that Myanmar is planning to nominate for World Heritage listing.


Myanmar aims for Mrauk U to join UNESCO list
TTG Asia, 11 February 2015

Myanmar prepares Mrauk U for UNESCO heritage list [Link no longer active]
Mizzima, 11 February 2015

MYANMAR’S archaeological zone of Mrauk U in Rakhine State is preparing to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Culture.

Mrauk U contains some 200 Buddhist monuments such as temples, stupas and monasteries mostly built in the 15th and 16th centuries AD. It is also known for its old temples with wall paintings of Indian influence.

Said Kyaw Lwin Oo, director general of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library under the ministry: “We are working on GIS database and digital mapping in Mrauk U. Nandaw Yar Gone will be converted into an archaeological park.

“We will also maintain the first, second and third brick walls of Nandaw Yar Gone, as well as the north wall of Shi Thaung Stupa. Maintenance works funded by Rakhine state have started.”

Full stories here and here [Link no longer active].

photo by:

Phu Phra Bat Historical Park to be nominated for world heritage

Phu Phra Bat Historical Park in Udon Thani Province Thailand is to be nominated at Thailand’s next World Heritage site. This ridge in northeast Thailand is reminiscent of Cambodia’s Phnom Kulen, and contains a long history of human occupation from prehistoric rock paintings, to remains of Dvaravati, Lopburi/Khmer and recently Lan Xang cultures. It is a beautiful landscape and I was really fortunate to have investigated some of the sites there as part of my PhD research.

U-sa's Tower in Phu Phra Bat Historical Park. Source: The Nation, 20150127
U-sa’s Tower in Phu Phra Bat Historical Park. Source: The Nation, 20150127

Phu Phra Bat Park nominated for Unesco Heritage Site list
The Nation, 27 January 2015

Phu Phra Bat Park chosen for Unesco Heritage list
The Nation, 28 January 2015

The Culture Ministry has decided to nominate Udon Thani’s Phu Phra Bat Park as a Unesco World Heritage Site and will put the plan up for consideration at Parliament tomorrow.

Situated in Ban Phue district, the park features ruins and objects dating back to pre-historic times as well as to the Dvaravati, Lopburi, and Lan Xang periods.

The 1,200-acre site is located in the lush Phu Phra Bat Buabok Forest Park, where there are many peculiarly shaped rocks owing to slow-moving glaciers millions of years ago. Also, many of the ruins and objects – such as a rock shaped to look like a stupa and another chiselled to the shape of a foot – were not made entirely by hand.

Visitors can also admire the pre-historic paintings, sandstone images and idols. The Fine Arts Department declared the site a historical park in 1991.

Full story here and here.

Ayutthaya celebration in December

The Thai province of Ayutthaya will celebrate the addition of the Ayutthaya Historical Park into the World Heritage register in December.

Ayutthaya (2007-02-065)

2014 Ayutthaya Historical Park Celebration scheduled for 12-21 Dec
National News Bureau of Thailand, 15 November 2014
Continue reading “Ayutthaya celebration in December”

Hanoi celebrates World Heritage with contest

The city of Hanoi is celebrating 15 years of being associated with World Heritage, and has launched a contest to test knowledge about their world heritage properties.

Thang Long Citadel, Viet Nam News 20141111
Thang Long Citadel, Viet Nam News 20141111

Contest focuses on Ha Noi world heritage sites
Viet Nam News, 11 November 2104
Continue reading “Hanoi celebrates World Heritage with contest”