Historic building preservation a boon for Battambang history buffs

Heritage buildings seen in Battambang town. - SUPPLIED

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): Real estate experts say the restoration of many older buildings in Battambang province is helping to boost tourism. Battambang town has hundreds of houses which were built in the French colonial style.

Provincial governor Sok Lou said the importance of conserving old buildings such as the administration buildings and houses that dated from the French colonial period in the centre of the town should not be overlooked.

He also sees the preservation of the buildings as an important contributor to the national economy.

He presented data from the provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts which showed there were five ancient temples, six prehistoric sites, 442 ancient mound, and 828 French colonial houses that were worthy of conservation. 334 Khmer houses and 139 pagodas were also included in the list.

Sok Khorn, rector of the National University of Battambang (NUBB), said that conserving old buildings, especially heritage ones, contributed to the promotion of national cultural heritage. It also provided inspiration to the students who major in architecture and tourism.

“Battambang is not only rich in rice and natural resources, but also has many valuable cultural and historical assets, including ancient temples and bridges, and the French colonial houses. There are also administrative buildings and the Phsar Nath, appointment market in English,” he said.

“These buildings are being renovated by the government through the Battambang town administration. Authorities at all levels are working together to restore their beauty and make sure they remain valuable national heritage sites,” he added.

Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA) president Chrek Soknim said that old buildings, especially those left over from the French colonial era, should be considered historical landmarks.

He urged the authorities to pay attention to conserving those buildings as part of the Kingdom’s cultural heritage, saying they would attract national and international tourists.

Along with the many new and high-rise buildings in Phnom Penh and provinces, many old buildings still held their value in the market. Many of them had been converted into restaurants, company headquarters or residences that played a part in promoting both culture and the economy.

Although there are no firm figures available on the number of heritage buildings in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Land Management has previously said that Cambodia would put efforts into preserving its original buildings.

Building owners who conduct renovations are required to keep the original form, and repairs and alterations must retain the same appearance.

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Cambodia , heritage , buildings , Battambang


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