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Hope returns for Phuket Old Town to be granted World Heritage status

Hope returns for Phuket Old Town to be granted World Heritage status

PHUKET: The Director of Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture has revealed that he is finally preparing the application for Unesco to consider registering “Phuket Old Town” as a World Heritage City.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 5 September 2019, 04:59PM

Phuket Old Town might finally get global recognition for its role in regional culture and history. Photo: TAT

Phuket Old Town might finally get global recognition for its role in regional culture and history. Photo: TAT

Department Director-General Anan Chuchot said that the Fine Arts Department is working with Phuket officials to present the application.

“We are preparing the documents to present Phuket Old Town to be listed in the Tentative list next year,” Mr Anan said.

Mr Anan explained that for the application Phuket Old Town was defined as the area comprising Rassada Rd, Phang Nga Rd, Yaowarat Rd, Krabi Rd, Dibuk Rd and Thalang Rd.

“The area is full of houses in Sino-Portuguese style, which is a good combination of Western and Eastern styles,” he said.

“I have talked with the Phuket Governor and other officials to work on presenting the application,” Mr Anan added.

He also noted, “There are people still living in the Phuket Old Town area who match one of the criteria for the area being recognised as a World Heritage City.”

For the Organization of World Heritage Cities to recognise a city as worthy of World Hertigae status, it must “be the location of a living urban fabric of historic or contemporary interest”.

Further, the city must have “its outstanding universal value has been recognized by the UNESCO and therefore has been registered in the World Heritage List.”

Meanwhile, among the criteria for a locale to included on the World Heritage List is that the proposed area “exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design” or “to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history”.

The initiative to have Phket Old Town recognised by Unesco has been underway for more than a decade, with Prof Yukio Nishimura, urban planner and Vice-President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), whose functions include evaluation of World Heritage sites, visiting Phuket Town in 2011. (See story here.)

However, the dream of World Heritage status has yet to become reality.

Mr Anan explained to the national press, “Phuket Old Town was born out of the prosperity of the tin mining industry and has today become a popular tourist attraction.”

Mr Anan announcing the latest push for Phuket Town to be bestowed World Heritage status follows CNN Travel naming Phuket Town as one of “13 of Asia's most picturesque towns” in a report late last month.

“The historic old quarter of Phuket Town, located in the center of the island, is lined with Sino-Colonial style shophouses, built during the island's tin-mining boom of the 18th and 19th centuries,” CNN Travel reported.

“There are plenty of hip shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, including the batik shops along Thalang Road run by ethnic Malays and Indians. The area is also filled with Chinese temples, crumbling mansions, cultural museums and a nunnery,” it added. (See story here.)


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DeKaaskopp | 09 September 2019 - 22:00:29

And seems to me that Khun Kurt not understand that granting "World Heritage Status"is not depending on some streets still having"spaghetti of cables"{what a weird choice of words btw} or not!Probably he hates that Phuket Town was named as one of 13 of Asia's most picturesque towns too.

Kurt | 09 September 2019 - 13:29:55

Seems that khun Dek not understand that it is not about 'interesting places', that actually just been brought back in normal state, but about a 'World Heritage qualification'. That is of a complete different higher level. Lucky that the Unesco decision making  is different from a TAT promoting marketing blitz, indeed.

BenPendejo | 08 September 2019 - 09:58:02

Hmmm...hardly warrants qualification of a world heritage site. The only motivation for this would be to support a TAT marketing blitz. There is nothing significant about this area, nor is it particularly quaint, pretty or interesting...just concrete facades, many of which have been neglected and poorly maintained until recently. I avoid the place at all costs.

DeKaaskopp | 07 September 2019 - 17:48:33

Thank god that curmudgeons  like K. don't have to decide on that status.Much was done in the last couple of years and if one would take time to wandering around that area he could find a lot interesting places.

Kurt | 07 September 2019 - 14:41:07

It is funny, do readers realise that the longer the articles are about saying/explaining of  thai Officials, the more holes can be shot in what they actually say in their just non thinking sayings, not supported by facts. 

Kurt | 07 September 2019 - 14:31:53

Lets hope that as long the unneeded spaghetti of cables, sure more than 50%  not in use/not removed for recycling , are still hanging around in  Phuket 4.0, that long Phuket not get such title. Spaghetti cables hanging in a town, with most of it death. such a town doesn't deserve a Heritage titel because no environment actions. Just a bluff application. International check required.

ChelseaPete | 07 September 2019 - 13:57:55

Take down the scruffy, dangerous, often defunct power cables and give it a coat of paint. Then it might have a sporting chance !

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