Officials aim for World Heritage status for Phra Nakhon Khiri ‘Khao Wang’ in Phetchaburi

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The Ministry of Culture has announced plans to nominate Phra Nakhon Khiri National Historical Park, commonly known as Khao Wang, for UNESCO World Heritage status.

The plans were highlighted during the recent mobile cabinet meeting on May 13, 2024, attended by Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol and other key officials.

The visit included stops at the Thai Song Dam Cultural Center in Khao Yoi District, the Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park and National Museum in Mueang District, and the Ban Tham Rong Moral Community’s cultural tourism site in Ban Lat District. The aim was to explore ways to leverage culture and creativity to generate social value and economic benefits, thus boosting local incomes.

Minister Sudawan expressed her appreciation for the warm reception in Phetchaburi. “The Ministry has a crucial policy to preserve, maintain, and pass on the nation’s culture to increase economic value,” she said.

The Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, or Khao Wang, is well-maintained by the Fine Arts Department and remains a top tourist destination in Phetchaburi Province. Minister Sudawan emphasized the importance of maintaining preservation standards and enhancing the site’s potential to attract both Thai and international tourists without compromising its historical integrity.

“As part of my policy of ‘One Region, One World Heritage,’ I have instructed the Fine Arts Department to study the feasibility of proposing Khao Wang for UNESCO World Heritage status. Currently, various sites across regions are being prepared for UNESCO consideration, such as Wat Phra Mahathat in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chiang Mai City in Chiang Mai, and Phu Phra Bat Historical Park in Udon Thani,” said Sudawan.

Director-General of the Fine Arts Department, Phanombut Chantrasothi, confirmed that the department plans to study the feasibility of including Khao Wang in UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage sites. Initial assessments suggest that Khao Wang meets UNESCO’s criteria for World Heritage status. Further studies and preliminary documents will be prepared for Cabinet consideration.

Phra Nakhon Khiri, built 165 years ago, is the only palace in Thailand constructed on a mountain. It was the first palace commissioned by King Rama IV and was visited by him 21 times before his death. King Rama V also stayed there before commissioning the construction of Ban Puen Palace and Mrigadayavan Palace.

Phetchaburi is thus known as the city of three palaces. Phra Nakhon Khiri’s continuous history, significant cultural value, and natural richness make it a strong candidate for World Heritage status. From October 2023 to April 2024, the site welcomed over 200,000 visitors, generating over 15 million baht in revenue.

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