In July 2017, Cambodia gained its third UNESCO listed heritage site. The destination is known as the Sambor Prei Kuk temple zone, which translates to ‘temple in the richness of the forest”. It is located between the Angkor temples in Siem Reap and the capitol of Cambodia , Phnom Penh.
The site is an ancient city, and dates back to the 6th century AD, which is centuries older than the much more well known, Angkor temples. However, in terms of comparison, this site is much smaller, measuring only twenty five square kilometres to the four hundred of the Angkor Temples.
However, the artwork and design used in the Sambor Prei Kuk temple zone, is said to have inspired the building of the Angkor Temples, with it’s techniques and style mirrored in many of the buildings.
Unfortunately, the people of the Sambor Prei Kuk temple zone were short lived. They were believed to be the city centre of the Chenla Empire, however their downfall led to the founding of the more dominant Khmer Empire centuries later.
Their legacy lives on however, with the ruins of their buildings still visited by many today, to appreciate the advance and beautiful architecture that they hand crafted.
Tourism has been a very important element of the Cambodian economy for a long time contributing to over 800’000 jobs. The listing of this site is suggested to increase this even more, as tourists will become aware of the Angkor Wat predecessor.