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Historic City of Ayutthaya not on endangered world heritage site list

3 July 2015 - The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has resolved not
to include the Historic City of Ayutthaya in the list of endangered world heritage sites, following the great floods of 2011 in Thailand. Natural
Resources and Environment Minister General Daopong Rattanasuwan and his team recently attended the 39th Session of the World Heritage
Committee in Bonn, Germany. The minister said that the decision by the panel not to include the Historic City of Ayutthaya on the world heritage site
list was because Thailand’s efforts to restore the city did not follow the World Heritage Committee’s protocol. However, the committee has
endorsed the Department of Fine Arts’ management plan for the site. Ministry of Culture has notified the UNESCO panel of its progress to recruit
skilled craftsmen and procure materials used to restore the historical site. UNESCO has asked that Thailand not build any new structures on the
historic site. General Daopong added the restoration plan is being adapted for clarity, before it is to submitted to the World Heritage Committee on
December 1 next year. [National News Bureau & Public Relations - 3 July 2015 - by Nuppol Suvansombut]

Dept head scoffs at statue hex claims

3 September 2015 - The Fine Arts Department (FAD) yesterday denied rumours the broken torso of a Buddha statue in a deserted Ayutthaya
temple has placed a hex on Thailand, causing the political problems besieging the country for the past half-decade. Speaking after inspecting the
damaged reclining Buddha in
Wat Phra Non (Reclining Buddha Temple), Prateep Phengtako, the director of the FAD's 3rd region office in
Ayutthaya, said the situation in Thailand is unrelated to the damaged statue, despite superstitions raised by netizens on social media. Earlier, rumours
spread on social media sites that the broken statue was a bad omen for the country. The director said he found the Buddha in poor condition, with
most parts of the statue having collapsed. It had received little attention over the years. Much of the Buddha was ruined from being left outdoors at
the deserted temple, he said. Thieves had also punctured a large hole on the torso and stolen the valuable objects hidden inside. The 18-metre
reclining Buddha, which is registered as a historical item, was believed to date from the early Ayutthaya era in the 14th century. Some historical texts
suggest the temple, which stands between
Wat Pradok and Wat Chumpol, is not part of the compound of temples built by past kings. However, it is
still part of Ayutthaya's history and deserves to be restored, said Mr Prateep. The deserted temple, which is located in a newly developed residential
area, is about 1 km away from the popular site
Wat Yai Chaimongkol. The FAD now plans to restore the reclining Buddha statue and the temple
area, said Mr Prateep, adding the Buddha will be fixed first, followed by other structures in the temple - costing roughly 700,000 baht and four to
five million baht, respectively. Mr Prateep said monks and followers from Wat Sri Sudaram, also in Ayutthaya, will help to raise the money needed
for the restoration. [Bangkok Post - 3 September 2015 - by Sunthorn Pongpao]