- Henry Miller
Angkor Wat Restoration efforts since the Angkor Wat temple "discovery" in 1860 have been numerous. In 1866, following the publication of Henri Mouhot's memoirs in Europe, a French expedition set up to search new trading routes with China along the Mekong would become the first step to a conscientious research of Angkor Wat. The expedition members surveyed the ruins, and their observations are recognised today as pioneering in French research at Angkor. In 1898 EFEO (Ecole Francaise D'extreme Orient) was established in Cambodia and started working toward clearing the monuments from the jungle and consolidation and restoration of the monuments. In 1908, the EFEO assisted with setting up Angkor Conservation in Siem Reap, the archaeological directorate of the Cambodian Government.
The restoration of Angkor Wat came to a halt in the 1970s and 1980s following the civil war in Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge regime. However, despite the war, very little damage was done to the temple, as in the Khmer psyque Angkor Wat history is sacred and cherished. Overall, the Angkor temples were abandoned to the jungle for almost twenty years. Only the archaeological Survey of India managed to do work on the temples during 1860 and 1866, but their conservational efforts have been greatly criticized due to the use of their methods and materials.
Since the 1990s Angkor Wat has experienced consistent conservation efforts and has become the main tourist attraction for Siem Reap, and Cambodia in general. This is mainly due to the fact that Angkor was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1992. The funds and technical expertise provided by UNESCO have consolidated the restoration plan of the temple. The APSARA authority ("The Authority for the Protection of the Site and the Development of the region of Angkor) manages the conservation and protection of Angkor.
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