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Koh Ker: Archaeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar

Koh Ker: Archaeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar
The archaeological site of Koh Ker is a sacred urban ensemble of numerous temples and sanctuaries including sculptures, inscriptions, wall paintings, and archaeological remains. Constructed over a twenty-three-year period, it was one of two rival Khmer Empire capitals – the other being Angkor – and was the sole capital from 928 to 944 CE. Established by King Jayavarman IV, his sacred city was believed to be laid out on the basis of ancient Indian religious concepts of the universe. The new city demonstrated unconventional city planning, artistic expression and construction technology, especially the use of very large monolithic stone blocks.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Koh Ker : site archéologique de l’ancienne Lingapura ou Chok Gargyar
Le site archéologique de Koh Ker est un ensemble urbain sacré comportant de nombreux temples et sanctuaires renfermant des sculptures, des inscriptions, des peintures murales et des vestiges archéologiques. Construite en une période de vingt-trois ans, elle a été l’une des deux capitales rivales de l’Empire khmer (avec Angkor) et est restée l’unique capitale entre 928 et 944 de notre ère. Établie par le roi Jayavarman IV, la ville sacrée a probablement été conçue en suivant les anciens concepts religieux indiens concernant l’univers. La nouvelle ville est un modèle tout à fait original d’urbanisme, d’expression artistique et de technologie de construction avec, notamment, d’énormes blocs de pierre monolithiques.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

كوه كير: الموقع الأثري للنغابورا القديمة أو تشوك غرغيار
الموقع الأثري لكوه كير عبارة عن مجمع حضري مقدس للعديد من المعابد التي تضم منحوتات ونقوشاً ورسومات جدارية وأطلالاً أثرية. وقد استغرق بناء هذا الموقع ثلاثة وعشرين عاماً، وكان أحد العاصمتين المتنافستين لإمبراطورية الخمير حيث كانت أنغكور العاصمة الأخرى، وكان العاصمة الوحيدة من عام 928 إلى عام 944م. وقد أنشأ الملك جيافارمان الرابع مدينته المقدسة التي يُعتقد أنها قامت على أساس مفاهيم دينية هندية قديمة للكون. وتمتاز هذه المدينة الجديدة بأنها غير تقليدية سواء من ناحية مخططها الحضري أو من ناحية أشكال التعبير الفني فيها والتكنولوجيا المستخدمة في بنائها، ولا سيما استخدام كتل حجرية كبيرة

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

贡开:林迦之城(荣耀之城)考古遗址
贡开遗址是由众多寺庙和圣殿组成的神圣城市群,包括雕塑、铭文、壁画和考古遗迹。贡开城历经23年建成,一度与吴哥竞争高棉帝国都城之位,并在公元928-944年享有这一尊荣。这座圣城由国王阇耶跋摩四世建立,据信其布局遵循古印度教宇宙观。它展现出非典型的城市规划、高超的艺术表现和建筑技术,其中超大型单体石块的应用尤为突出。

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Кох Кер: Археологический памятник древнего Лингапура или Чок Гаргьяр
Археологический памятник Кох Кер представляет собой священный городской ансамбль, включающий многочисленные храмы и святилища, в том числе скульптуры, надписи, настенные росписи и археологические остатки. Построенный в течение двадцати трех лет, он был одной из двух соперничающих столиц Кхмерской империи (второй был Ангкор) и являлся единственной столицей с 928 по 944 г. н.э. Основанный королем Джаяварманом IV священный город, как считается, был заложен на основе древнеиндийских религиозных представлений о Вселенной. Новый город демонстрировал нетрадиционную планировку, художественную выразительность и технологию строительства, в частности, использование очень больших монолитных каменных блоков.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Koh Ker: sitio arqueológico de la antigua Lingapura o Chok Gargyar
El sitio arqueológico de Koh Ker es un conjunto urbano sagrado constituido por numerosos templos y santuarios que incluye esculturas, inscripciones, pinturas murales y restos arqueológicos. Construida a lo largo de un periodo de veintitrés años, fue una de las dos capitales rivales del Imperio Jémer ­–la otra era Angkor– y fue la única capital entre 928 y 944 d. C. Fundada por el rey Jayavarman IV, se cree que su ciudad sagrada se basó en los antiguos conceptos religiosos indios del universo. La nueva ciudad demostró una planificación urbanística, una expresión artística y una tecnología de construcción poco convencionales, especialmente en el uso de bloques de piedra monolíticos de gran tamaño.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Prasat Damrei, viewed from east © National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV)
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Koh Ker: Archaeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar was a capital of the Khmer Empire between 921 and 944 CE. Partially hidden in a dense broad-leaf forest between the Dangrek and Kulen mountain ranges on a gently sloping hill some eighty kilometres northeast of Angkor, the archaeological site comprises numerous temples and sanctuaries with associated sculptures, inscriptions, and wall paintings, archaeological remains and hydraulic structures.

Established by King Jayavarman IV in 921 CE, Koh Ker was one of two rival capitals of the Khmer Empire that co-existed between 921 and 928 CE – the other being Angkor – and the sole capital until 944 CE, after which the Empire’s political centre moved back to Angkor. Constructed in a single phase over a twenty-three-year period, the sacred city was believed to be laid out on the basis of ancient Indian concepts of the universe. Koh Ker demonstrated markedly unconventional city planning and architectural features, which were primarily the result of the combination of King Jayavarman IV’s grand political ambition and the two outstanding innovations that helped to materialise this ambition: the artistic expressions of the Koh Ker Style, and the construction technology using very large monolithic stone blocks. Although short-lived as a capital and thus acting only as an interlude in Khmer history, these innovations had a profound and lasting influence on urban construction and artistic expression in the region.

Criterion (ii): The archaeological site of Koh Ker exhibits in an exceptional way the interchange of human values that resulted in the Koh Ker Style, a sculptural expression featuring bold, expressive imagery and a dynamic sense of movement that resulted from the fusion of Indian religious and artistic symbolism with local design concepts and artistic craftsmanship. The Koh Ker Style, though formed within a short period of twenty-three years in the 10th century, had an enduring influence on the artistic expression of the subsequent period of the Khmer Empire and other Southeast Asian countries.

Criterion (iv): The archaeological site of Koh Ker is a prototype of a new urban landscape featured by grand-scale buildings, thanks to the use of colossal monolithic stone blocks for construction and sculptures. It had inaugurated a centuries-long phase of stone temple construction across the Khmer Empire and became a source of inspiration for the great monuments of Angkor and Southeast Asia in later centuries.

Integrity

All attributes necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the temples and sanctuaries, archaeological remains and hydraulic structures, are included within the property. The layout and built environment of the entire ancient capital are evident. Many looted sculptures have been repatriated. Threats to the attributes are under control.

Authenticity

The link between the property's attributes and its Outstanding Universal Value is truthfully expressed, and the archaeological remains can be said to truthfully convey their meaning; there are no conjectural reconstructions. The absence of later modifications or reuse after its abandonment in the 15th century has left the property with a high level of authenticity in terms of its location and setting, forms and designs, and materials and substances, as demonstrated by the archaeological evidence. The geographical location of the ancient capital city, the layout of the original urban plan, and the archaeological remains of the temples, royal palace, hydraulic systems, sculptures, inscriptions, and wall painting are authentically preserved in situ. The property is the same size and is in almost the same condition as at the time of its documentation in the late 19th century.

Protection and management requirements

Koh Ker: Archaeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar is protected by the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage (1996). The Royal Decree on the Establishment of Koh Ker Temple Site, NS/RKT/0504/070, of 2004, as amended in 2020, defines the boundaries of the property, the buffer zone, and the satellite zone beyond the buffer zone.

The National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV) is the dedicated governmental authority that oversees policy formulation and implementation for the protection and conservation of the property, and for combating illegal destruction, alteration, excavation, alienation or exportation of cultural objects at both Preah Vihear and Koh Ker. The NAPV technical teams, together with the active participation of the community, undertake activities for the conservation and promotion of the property according to a Comprehensive Cultural Management Plan. The International Coordinating Committee for Preah Vihear advises and monitors all NAPV activities. Heritage Impact Assessment mechanisms have been embedded in the current management system. Risk management for both the natural environment and the cultural heritage is carried out by staff with adequate equipment following established procedures. Specific long-term expectations include building up staff capacity.

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