Govt firms up park pitch to Unesco

The huge Khao Khlang Nok stupa in the ancient city of Sri Thep is the biggest Dvaravati monument in the country. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thailand plans to submit a document on its nomination of Sri Thep Historical Park in Phetchabun province as a World Heritage site to the Unesco World Heritage Centre next month.

Pratheep Pengtako, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, said the document has been improved as suggested by the World Heritage Centre.

According to Mr Pratheep, Sri Thep Historical Park is now on a tentative list of World Heritage sites and the government has resolved to push for the listing as a cultural heritage site next year.

He said the department has worked with Phetchabun province in preparing the site for the nomination. This includes the development of a buffer zone and improvement of town planning to include the historical park.

The document has been compiled and forwarded to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning for further submission to the Unesco World Heritage Centre, he said.

Mr Pratheep said the document is pending review by the national committee on heritage protection chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

It is expected to be submitted to Paris by Sept 30.

He said Sri Thep Historical Park will be nominated as a cultural heritage site consisting of the three structures of Sri Thep ancient city, Khao Khlang Nok archaeological site and Khao Thamorat archaeological site.

For the site to be included on the World Heritage List, the World Heritage Committee must find that it meets one or more of 10 selection criteria.

Mr Pratheep said Sri Thep Historical Park’s outstanding universal value is defined by Criteria II and Criteria III involving interchanges of human values over a span of time or within a cultural area and bearing a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition.

The park contains a number of historical structures, including a Khmer-style prang; Thailand’s only pyramid-shaped hill, Khao Klang Nok; and a Buddhist stupa called Khao Klang Nai, famous for its Dvaravati-style bas-relief and small figurines around the structure’s foundation.

The ancient heritage site, believed to have been built around 1,700 years ago, is recognised both for its cultural and historical significance and has been listed as a national archeological site since 1935.

Meanwhile, the national committee on heritage protection on Thursday approved a plan to be implemented in line with the World Heritage Committee’s endorsement of the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex as a world heritage site.

The listing of the forest complex came after six years of efforts to obtain such recognition amid fierce opposition from the Karen minority in the area, which accused the government of human rights violations.