TWHS: Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor, Cambodia

Alright, back to Cambodia today: we’re heading east from Mount Oudong over to the town of Kompong Cham and its local Tentative World Heritage Site,

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor


Cet ensemble est surtout connu par le temple de Vat Nokor situé dans le Khum de Kompong Siem, à une distance de 1200 mètres de Kompong Cham Ville. Ce monument construit en grès et latérite date des dernieres années du regne de Jayavarman VII. Il se compose d’une tour centrale entourée de quatre murs-enceintes en latérite. La tour centrale du temple de Vat Nokor est décorée de motifs caractéristiques du Bayon avec des scènes bouddhiques sur les frontons. Cette construction présente la particularité d’etre surmontée d’un stupa.

Or for our Dear Anglophone Readers,

This ensemble is best known by Wat Nokor temple located in Kompong Siem Khum, at a distance of 1200 meters from Kompong Cham Town. This monument built of sandstone and laterite dates from the last years of the reign of Jayavarman VII. It consists of a central tower surrounded by four laterite walls. The central tower of the Wat Nokor temple is decorated with Bayon motifs with Buddhist scenes on the pediments. This construction has the particularity of being surmounted by a stupa.

Wat Nokor is soooo off the beaten tourist track that there’s absolutely no access control at all, aside from this fine fellow who’s been on the job for too many centuries to bother asking you for an admission fee:

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

Matter of fact, the afternoon we visited, the only other visitor was there to eat the grass.

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

There ’s a number of well preserved carvings to be found as you wander around,

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

but the most interesting thing about Wat Nokor is actually how it’s been recycled. Take a look at this picture:

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

Looks like there’s a modern building inside those ancient walls, doesn’t it? Well, that is in fact exactly what it is:

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

The locals apparently decided there was no point letting perfectly good temple grounds go to waste, and embedded a modern Bhuddist temple in the midst of the millienia old ruins —

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor

— and repurposed the old stupas with modern Bhudda figures too,

Ensemble de Banteay Prei Nokor


which is something you almost never see. Religious sites are rebuilt upon frequently, but to actually adopt the old ruins and erect modern buildings in their midst like this? Can’t actually think of anywhere we’ve seen anything of quite the sort before.

So if you want to visit a living heritage site … no better place than this to put on your list!


About Author


I go places.


  1. […] north from Banteay Prei Nokor, our next stop is one of the 21 new inscriptions this year on the World Heritage Site list:Temple […]

Leave a Reply