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  • © UNESCO
  • Angkor, archaeological site in Cambodia

Cambodia joined UNESCO on July 3, 1951. The opening of the UNESCO Office Phnom Penh in 1991 helped strengthen cooperation.

Cambodia’s Angkor archaeological site - containing the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries - is an exceptional concentration of monuments of religious, historical, artistic and cultural value. In 1992, Angkor was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and declared a World Heritage in Danger site, due to extensive damage.

An international programme for Angkor’s protection was launched in 1991. Spanning over more than a decade, it was successfully implemented through the joint efforts of the Cambodian government, UNESCO, and the international community. Today, the programme serves as a model for other such projects. The site was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2004 but a new five-year programme aimed at safeguarding Bayon Temple, one of Angkor’s major monuments, was launched in 2005.

The Cambodian intangible cultural heritage is rich both in terms of variety and quality: 21 forms of Cambodian performing arts, comprised of dance, music, theatre and circus, are thought to exist. However, 90% of Cambodia’s artists, dancers, musicians, actors, playwrights and poets perished during the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979) and many of the dances and theatre forms were lost forever. UNESCO is helping revive these arts by, among other projects, supporting the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National Theatre troupe. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003.

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