Prasat Preah Vihear
Prasat Preah Vihear (ប្រាសាទ ព្រះវិហារ) is one of Cambodia’s revered temples located on the plateau of Dângrêk Mountains in Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia. Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia, though some of the outter areas are still under Thailand’s control. The temple has beautiful views all around and has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire.
On July, 8 2008, the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee decided to add Prasat Preah Vihear to the World Heritage Site list as Cambodia and Thailand were in full agreement that the temple had "Outstanding Universal Value" and should be inscribed on the list.
Preah Vihear was constructed begining in early 11th century in the period under the reigns of King Suryavarman I (1002–1050) and King Suryavarman II (1113–1150). The inscription found at the temple provides detailed accounts of Suryavarman II studying sacred rituals, celebrating religious festivals and making gifts, including white parasols, golden bowls and elephants, to his spiritual mentor, the aged Brahman Divakarapandita. The Brahman himself took an interest in the temple, according to the inscription, by donating a golden statue of a dancing Shiva to temple collection.
Preah Vihear Lay in Cambodia Territory under the Sovereignty of Cambodia
The dispute between Cambodia (Khmer) and Thailand (Siam) over the boundary of Preah Vihea dated back to the early 20th century around 1904-1908.
In 1904, Cambodia and Thailand formed a joint border commission, Franco-Siamese Mixed Commission, for the purposes of establishing a treaty to characterize the exact frontier. According to a meeting on December 2, 1906, the commission decided to travel along the Dângrêk Mountains to survey the whole eastern part of the range to define the exact frontier between Cambodia and Thailand. By autumn of 1907, the map was completed. The map of the Dangrek range shows Preah Vihear to be on Cambodia side of the frontier.
In 1954, Thailand troops invaded Preah Vihear and occupied the temple illegally. In 1959, Cambodia took the incident to the world court, The Hague International Court of Justice, and was ruled that Preah Vihear is in Cambodia territory.
On June 15, 1962, the judgment delivered by The Hague Internaional Court of Justice, by 9 votes to 3 votes, ruled that the Preah Vihear Temple lay in Cambodia territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia. Thailand must withdraw its forces from the temple and from Cambodia territory. And by 7 votes to 5 votes, The Hague International Court of Justice ruled that Thailand must restore any sculptures, stelae (carved stone/pillar), fragments of monuments, sandstone models and ancient pottery of the temple.
The Cambodian National Bank issued a new 2,000-riel bank note to refresh currency supplies and simplify cash payments.
Bird-view of Prasat Preah Vihear (from a Cambodian 100 riel note)
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