independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Web bid to preserve Angkor Wat

Tourists watch the sunrise at the famed Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province, Cambodia (AP)

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)

Press Association

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