The Ancient Town of Si Thep inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site

Bangkok, 21 September 2023 – The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has listed “The Ancient Town of Si Thep and its Associated Dvaravati Monuments” in Phetchabun province as a cultural world heritage site, bringing the number of World Heritage Sites in Thailand to seven.

The Ancient Town of Si Thep was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List during the World Heritage Committee’s 45th extended session held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to the World Heritage List, “The Ancient Town of Si Thep and its Associated Dvaravati Monuments is a serial property of three component parts:  A distinctive twin-town site, featuring an Inner and Outer Town surrounded by moats, the massive Khao Klang Nok ancient monument, and the Khao Thamorrat Cave ancient monument.

Together these sites represent the architecture, artistic traditions, and religious diversity of the Dvaravati Empire that thrived in Central Thailand from the 6th to the 10th centuries, demonstrating the influences from India. The local adaptation of these traditions resulted in a distinctive artistic tradition known as the Si Thep School of Art, which later influenced other civilisations in Southeast Asia.”

The other existing World Heritage Sites in Thailand comprise three cultural sites – Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns (1991), Historic City of Ayutthaya (1991), and Ban Chiang Archaeological Site (1992) – and three natural sites – Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (1991), Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (2005), and Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (2021).

To commemorate the listing, the Fine Arts Department is waiving the admission fees at Si Thep Historical Park from today, 20 September, to Sunday, 24 September. It is also holding a special exhibition about Si Thep Historical Park and its world heritage significance at the Bangkok National Museum from today, 20 September, until 14 January 2024.

The Ancient Town of Si Thep is in Phetchabun province located some 340 km north of Bangkok. Phetchabun is best-known for its amazing scenery surrounded by mountains and mist and is a popular destination for trekking and camping.

Among Phetchabun’s famous attractions are several national parks – Khao Kho, Nam Nao, Phu Hin Rong Kla, and Thung Salaeng Luang – and its highest mountain Phu Thap Boek, the five overlapping white Buddha statues of Wat Phrathat Pha Son Kaeo, and That Yai Waterfall – one of the 25 finalists in the ‘Unseen New Chapters’ campaign.

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