Let’s preserve historical remnants in Kep and everywhere

An old edification in Bokorville, another former French village at the top of the Bokor Mountain, today a place of reconstruction with big development plants. Photo Al Rodas 04.16.2010.

An old edification in Bokorville, another former French village at the top of the Bokor Mountain, today a place of reconstruction with big development plants. Photo Al Rodas 04.16.2010.

The upcoming Kep Expo Project is speaking very good about preservation of historical remnants in Kep Province and Cambodia. In this short documentary by Radio Australia we can see that there are people who worry about the protection of the national historical heritage. For me it would not be exaggerated to request the inclusion of Kep Town and Bokorville, as well as many other French colonial places around the country, as Unesco World Heritage Sites and there are many reasons why.   But in order to do so, it is needed an urgent plan of protection before some other groups of people without any historical conscience and the hurry for dollars, will end with the demolition of most colonial old villas of Kep. One thing we have to understand is that the Cambodian past does not end in the Angkorean period. Contrary to it, there are several remnants before and after the Angkor period that fit the complete historical picture of Cambodia.

Last year we saw the demolition of the old Providence Sisters’ College, but many other sites of deep architecture value have been destroyed to build simple cement structures to open spaces for hotels and restaurants.  We celebrate also the compromise of the local government and some organizations to develop Kep in a different way of what it has been in Sihanoukville, an already chaotic place without a real plan policy and environment care.

Here are the UNESCO selection criteria to declare a place as World Heritage and, I think, it could apply to Kep Ville. Please let your comment

Selection criteria:

  1. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  6. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
  7. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  8. to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
  9. to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  10. to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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