New lease of life for royal residence

Source: Khmer Times 

Officials say they don’t expect the renovation to match the original. Supplied

Provincial officials are building a gate and wall around the abandoned royal residence in Stung Treng town as part of a project to preserve the property, which has been abandoned since the first Sihanouk era, which started in 1953 and lasted until 1970.
Men Kong, a spokesman for Stung Treng Provincial Hall, said the project will renovate the exterior of the building before any work is done on the interior.
“First, we have to renovate the external infrastructure, such as the gate and boundaries, in line with an inventory from the Ministry of Royal Palaces,” he said, adding the property is under direct control of the ministry.
Mr. Kong said the renovation will change the original shape of the royal residence, but said this is necessary to preserve what’s left of the building.
“The property has been abandoned since the time of the People’s Socialist Community and was destroyed during the Khmer Rouge,” he said.
“It has been abandoned for a long time, so we need to do something about it. We don’t expect the renovation to make it the same as the original, but we will preserve what we can,” he said.
Mr. Kong said the team working on the project hasn’t considered uses for the property once it is finished, although the renovation is hoped to attract local and international tourists.
“We haven’t thought about that yet,” he said. “Our purpose is just to maintain the property and promote the credentials of the Khmer kings and the image of the province.”
The project started late last year and the external infrastructure should be finished by June, Mr. Kong said.
After that, the provincial hall will send interior design proposals to the Ministry of Royal Palaces for approval. Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.



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