30 June 2006 (Independent Online) – John Stubbs of the World Monuments Fund talks about the dire need for preservation works at the Angkor temples, and how tourism is leading to quick destruction of the site.
Are the Angkor Wat temples doomed?
Such an increase in traffic is something the ancient sandstone structures are ill-equipped to cope with, according to John Stubbs, vice-president for field projects with the World Monuments Fund. A not-for-profit conservation organisation based in New York, the WMF was founded in 1965 with, says Stubbs, a simple mandate: to raise public awareness and save significant historic buildings throughout the world.
The WMF oversees 250 projects in 83 countries, preserving significant sites from the ravages of time. And Angkor Wat is on the critical list. Phnom Bakheng, a five-tier temple perched on a 65m-high hill, is one of the most imperilled of the 40 or so monuments in the area. The most prominent feature for several miles, Phnom Bakheng at sunset is regarded as the quintessential Angkor experience. And therein lies the problem.