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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Laos to request UNESCO recognition of Khammuan site

Laos plans to ask the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to designate a national protected area in Khammuan province as a world heritage site.

The area is known as Phou Hin Nam Nor ( Stone Pillar Mountain ) and covers an area of 82,000 hectares.

Phou Hin Nam Nor Head, Mr Sysomphone Southijack, this week said Laos made the request because the area was naturally beautiful and full of wildlife.

He said Phou Hin Nam Nor was added to the list of national protected areas in 1993, and is one of 21 such protected areas in Laos . The mountain is believed to have formed due to a volcanic eruption several centuries ago.

The government has listed Phou Hin Nam Nor and the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khuang province for submission to UNESCO for recognition as world heritage sites, Mr Sysomphone said.

“We believe the designation of Phou Hin Nam Nor as a world heritage site would help to attract more tourists to the province,” he said.

The protected area borders the Phong Nga-Kebang National Park in Vietnam , which was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2003.

Mr Sysomphone said it would be appropriate for UNESCO to include Phou Hin Nam Nor as an extension of this area of natural beauty.

The first place in Laos to be named a world heritage site was the picturesque and historic town of Luang Prabang , which was added to UNESCO's list in 1995.

In 2001 the Vat Phou temple in Champassak province was also added to the list. This temple is a fine example of early and classic Khmer architecture, dating from the 7th to 12th centuries A.D.

At the foot of Vat Phou lies the remains of the ancient city of Shestupura , first settled in the 5th century A.D and believed to be the oldest urban settlement in Southeast Asia .

By Meuangkham Noradeth
(Latest Update November 26, 2008)

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