Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2008
Size of heritage: 155 ha
- Buffer zone: 2,643 ha

Longitude: 104,684°
Latitude: 14,388°


Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the Temple of Preah Vihear is dedicated to Shiva. The Temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded. This site is particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location. The site is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation.

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Temple of Preah Vihear: A Majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cambodia

The Temple of Preah Vihear, located in the Dângrêk Mountains of Cambodia, is a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site that holds immense historical and cultural significance. Situated at coordinates N14 23 18 E104 41 2, this ancient temple complex is renowned for its architectural grandeur and breathtaking panoramic views.

Historical Significance

The history of the Temple of Preah Vihear dates back to the 9th century when it was built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva during the reign of the Khmer Empire. Over the centuries, it underwent several expansions and modifications under different rulers, including the Angkor Empire and the Thai Kingdom. The temple complex served as a place of worship, a center for religious ceremonies, and a symbol of political power.

However, the temple's historical significance extends beyond its architectural marvels. The Temple of Preah Vihear played a crucial role in defining the border between Cambodia and Thailand. The territorial dispute over the temple led to tensions between the two countries for many years. In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Cambodia, recognizing the temple as part of its territory.

Architectural Marvel

The Temple of Preah Vihear is a masterpiece of Khmer architecture, showcasing the intricate craftsmanship and artistic prowess of the ancient Khmer civilization. The temple complex is perched on a cliff, offering visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The main sanctuary, known as Prasat Preah Vihear, is the focal point of the temple complex. It consists of a series of interconnected buildings, courtyards, and galleries adorned with intricate carvings depicting mythological scenes and Hindu deities. The temple's design reflects the Khmer architectural style, characterized by towering gopuras (entrance pavilions), intricate bas-reliefs, and steep staircases.

Current State and Preservation Efforts

The Temple of Preah Vihear has faced numerous challenges over the years, including damage caused by armed conflicts and natural deterioration. However, significant efforts have been made to preserve and protect this invaluable heritage site.

In 2008, the temple was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognizing its outstanding universal value. This designation has helped raise awareness about the temple's significance and has led to increased conservation efforts.

The Cambodian government, in collaboration with international organizations, has undertaken restoration projects to safeguard the temple's structural integrity and preserve its intricate carvings. These efforts include stabilizing the foundations, reinforcing the structures, and implementing measures to prevent further deterioration.

Furthermore, the Temple of Preah Vihear has become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world. The site is carefully managed to ensure sustainable tourism practices, balancing the preservation of the temple with the needs of visitors.

The Temple of Preah Vihear stands as a testament to Cambodia's rich cultural heritage and serves as a reminder of the country's glorious past. Its awe-inspiring architecture and historical significance make it a must-visit destination for those seeking to explore the wonders of ancient civilizations.