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Thailand’s Restoration of Chedi Honored with UNESCO Award of Excellence

September 21, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

1325991320pThe restoration of the principal chedi (reliquary stupa) in Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan temple in Bangkok has been honored with the Award of Excellence in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
According to the Bangkok Office of UNESCO, the award recognizes the work undertaken on the Phra Borommathat Maha Chedi and the attached hall, Pharin Pariyattithammasala, for its technical achievement and for the outstanding social impact sparked by the conservation project.

In June 2013, a panel of international conservation experts was convened to review and deliberate on the 47 entries received from 16 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.

“We were particularly encouraged to see our broadest ever geographical range this year, spanning from the Cook Islands in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to the Islamic Republic of Iran at the far end of West Asia”, comments Tim Curtis, Chair of the Jury and Chief of the Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok.

The restoration of the historically significant chedi and its attached hall has preserved one of Bangkok’s most iconic religious monuments, combining an act of faith with a major engineering feat.

The project has catalyzed extensive social impact in the multicultural historic district of Kadeejeen. In strengthening the interior structure while maintaining the external shell of the dramatically leaning chedi, the project demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of a unique architectural typology from the early Rattanakosin era. The technical interventions, combining the latest in scientific advances with traditional construction techniques, help to convey a sense of antiquity and a feeling of age.

The exemplary cooperation between the monks, specialists, and locals has given a 21st-century meaning to the age-old symbiosis between Buddhist monasteries and the lay community in sustaining a sacred complex as the centerpiece of neighborhood life.

Established in 2000, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation recognize excellent achievement in successfully preserving or restoring heritage buildings and properties in the region by the private sector or by public-private initiatives.

The Rector of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and Abbot of Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan, Professor Dr. Phra Brahmapundit, said that the restoration project is the first that has earned Thailand the Award of Excellence in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The award presentation will be made on 16 November 2013.

Since 2002, Thailand has so far received 10 awards from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Out of the 10 awards, only one is the Award of Excellence, while others are Honourable Mentions and Awards of Merit.

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