SIEM REAP (Xinhua) – Cambodia inaugurated the western causeway of the famed Angkor Wat temple in the Angkor Archeological Park on Saturday after 19 years of restoration.
King Norodom Sihamoni, along with Prime Minister Hun Manet, attended the inauguration ceremony of the causeway leading to the main gate of the Angkor Wat in the west.
The 192-metre-long, 11.6-metre-wide, and four-metre-tall causeway is used as the gateway to visit the Angkor Wat, and the floating bridge south of the causeway is kept as the main exit for visitors.
Speaking at the event, Sihamoni said the preservation and strengthening of the causeway by maintaining its original form has enhanced the value of the Angkor Wat temple.
“The Angkor Wat is evidence of the rise of the pinnacle of artistic culture in the 12th Century, which is widely regarded as a wonderful site and a symbol of innovation at the peak of humanity,” he said, and highlighted the temple as a masterpiece and a highest symbol of king Suryavarman II during the Angkorian period in the Cambodian history.
Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona said the inauguration marked another historical milestone in safeguarding and preserving the Angkor Wat. The causeway will help ease the tourist flow at the Angkor Wat, she said.
Decorated with sculptures of Naga (several-headed serpents) and Singha (lions), the causeway is made of thousands of sandstones and laterite stones.
The restoration had been undertaken by the APSARA National Authority (ANA) in cooperation with Japan’s Sophia University.
Angkor Wat is one of the key temples in the 401-square-kilometer Angkor Archeological Park, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1992.