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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Unesco officials working with Myanmar to list Bagan as a World Heritage Site are confident that Bagan will be added to the register within a few years. The article also does address some of the issues that will complicate the listing.