On September 19, 2023, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed his “deepest gratitude” to UNESCO for naming the ancient town of Si Thep, a centre of Davarati civilization, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published news coverage of “The Ancient Town of Si Thep, inscribed as Thailand’s 7th World Heritage Site,” as details follow:
The 45th extended session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC), held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, inscribed the “Ancient Town of Si Thep” on the World Heritage List under the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The “Ancient Town of Si Thep” becomes the 7th World Heritage site in Thailand – with existing ones include (1) Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns; (2) Historic City of Ayutthaya; (3) Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries; (4) Ban Chiang Archaeological Site; (5) Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex; and (6) Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex.
The Ancient Town of Si Thep is located in Phetchabun Province and consists of three cultural sites, namely the Ancient Town of Si Thep, Khao Klang Nok and Khao Thamorrat Cave Ancient Monument. These sites are interconnected and could date back to more than 1,500 years ago.
Due to the suitable terrain of the area surrounding the Ancient Town, human settlement and habitation was discovered since prehistoric times and the local habitation has continued until present.
Beyond its remarkable representation of the Dvaravati culture, the site bears exceptional distinctive characteristics that are different from other Dvaravati cities in the same period. Its distinctive artistic architectural style has been recognized as the “Si Thep Master of Art”.
The inscription of the Ancient Town of Si Thep brings great pride to the Thai people. It enhances international awareness on the values and significance of the Ancient Town of Si Thep as cultural World Heritage site. The inscription also signifies the beginning of cooperation and collective actions to conserve, restore, and protect this invaluable site to be a learning centre and the treasure not only for people all over the world, but also for the future generations globally.
The 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, with 195 States Parties at present, was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference on 16 November 1972.
The instrument itself was inspired by international efforts to help the governments of Egypt and Sudan through UNESCO to support the relocation of the Abu Simbel temples which, at the time, risked being flooded by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt.
It should be highlighted that the decision of countries to become States Parties to the Convention clearly shows their determination to safeguard outstanding natural and cultural sites for future generations and to enhance public awareness.