Web bid to preserve Angkor Wat
Published 04/07/2013 | 14:17
Cambodia has joined hands with Australia in an effort to use the internet to help preserve its fabled Angkor Wat temple complex.
As part of a master plan to limit damage to the complex, a recently opened website, Angkor Sunset Finder, will give tourists recommendations for where in the 400-sq kms (160-sq mile) complex to watch spectacular sunsets.
A handful of well-publicised spots from which to watch the setting sun attract too many tourists, risking damage to the site.
The website at angkorsunsets.com allows visitors to select several criteria - including what kind of atmosphere, distance from gate and crowd conditions - to get a recommendation of alternative perches from a listing of 34 vantage points.
Built between the ninth and 14th centuries, Angkor is not only a symbol of national pride, emblazoned on the Cambodian flag, but is also the country's biggest tourist attraction, receiving about two million visitors a year. It is one of the landmarks of international significance on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The website is part of an Australian-assisted Heritage Management Framework plan initiated in 2008 "in response to a dramatic increase in tourism, new environmental challenges and the rapid development of the communities neighbouring Cambodia's Angkor World Heritage Site," the Australian Embassy said in a statement.
Angkor welcomed only 250,000 visitors as recently as 2001.
angkorsunsets.com (Angkor sunsets finder)