Ancient Malacca temple wins Unesco merit award for restoration


By LEE YUK PENG

MALACCA: The Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the oldest Chinese temple in the country, has won a merit award in the Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Awards last year for its restoration work. 

Richard Engelhardt, Unesco's regional adviser for culture in Asia and the Pacific, will present the merit certificates to those involved in the restoration work of the temple founded in the 1600s. 

Montira Horayangura, a Unesco consultant based in Bangkok, confirmed that the presentation ceremony will be held in March. 

The second phase of restoration work on the ancillary buildings of the temple and its main entrance is on-going and is estimated to cost RM1mil. 

The first phase of restoration work, which started in late 1999 and completed in early 2001, cost RM1.5mil 

In a media release, Unesco stated that the restoration work had demonstrated high standards of technical execution and set a worthy precedent for other conservation work in Malaysia and the region. 

The project successfully illustrated faithful use of original materials and integrity of artisan techniques, and had revived the historic building for the community as a centre of worship, it said. 

The awards recognise the best efforts of individuals and organisations in their achievements and contributions to the conservation and restoration of a structure or a series of structures, which are more than 50 years old. 

A total of 46 projects from 15 countries and administrative areas in the Asia-Pacific region had submitted their entries for the 2002 awards. 

The selection process was conducted by a panel of international conservation experts in architecture, urban planning, landscape design and heritage conservation. 

The Ahhichatragarh Fort of Nagaur in India won the Excellence Award, followed by the Australian Hall and Yarikutz, Rupikutz, Kuyokutz and Mamorukutz mosques in Pakistan winning the Distinction Award. 

The Cheng Hoon Teng Temple was one of the five recipients of the Merit Award.  

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