Cambodia wins claim to ancient temple site

18th Nov 2013

Cambodia has won the undisputed right to one of the East's most celebrated cultural sites.

The UN's International Court of Justice ruled earlier this month that it should have permanent sovereignty over the land around the spectacular Preah Vihear temple complex.

The area was disputed by both Cambodia and Thailand, on whose borders it rests.

The decision, which cannot be appealed, upholds an original judgement made in 1962.

The dispute escalated five years ago when Cambodia won Unesco World Heritage Status for the site, sparking the beginning of occasional skirmishes.

So holidaymakers on religion-based specialist tours will be officially spoilt for choice in this emerging south-east Asian destination.

Cambodia is also home to Angkor Wat, which has attracted more than a million visitors in the first half of this year alone.

Preah Vihear, which dates back to the 11th century, is even older than Angkor Wat.

The Hindu temple was constructed during the reign of Khmer Empire.

It is perched magnificently atop a 525-metre (1,722ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province.

Few of the world's destinations give a more breathtaking view with visitors able to see way into the distance across a beautiful plain.

As a vital monument to the empire's spiritual existence, the temple was backed and modified by successive kings and so contains traces of many architectural styles.

The temple lends its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now situated.

Unesco describes the site as "particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location."

It says the temple 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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