PHNOM PENH, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia inaugurated a museum near the Preah Vihear world heritage site in northwest country's Preah Vihear province on Tuesday, 10 years after the project initiated.
Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin, acting minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, and Anne Lemaistre, representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to Cambodia, jointly opened the museum, which was dubbed "Samdech Techo Hun Sen Eco-Global Museum."
"The museum will be a center for studying and researching on cultures, traditions, customs, languages, arts, religious beliefs, and daily lives of Kuay ethnic minority group and other ethnic minority groups," Bin Chhin said in a speech. "It will be the only ethnologic museum in Cambodia."
The museum would also be a venue for conserving rare flora and fauna, and traditional medicines for countries along the Mekong River, he said, adding that it would also be a place to promote cooperation in culture and tourism with neighboring Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeurng Sackona said the first phase project cost 753,400 U.S. dollars, which was funded by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the Cambodian government, and some donors.
She said the UNESCO provided technical support for the project.
"This new cultural institution not only reflects the civilization of the ancient Khmers but also the life of local ethnic Kuay communities and the rich diversity of their natural environment," the UNESCO said in a statement.
It added that the museum displayed not only archaeological collections from the famous Preah Vihear temple and its wider network of related monuments, but also exceptional and sometimes endangered flora and fauna as well as objects that illustrated the livelihood of local communities, both Khmer and Kuay.
The museum is currently being displayed on an area of 10 hectares and offer exhibitions on the local culture, history, customs, and nature, however, in its ultimate stage, the museum will cover 177 hectares of land, the statement said.
Preah Vihear, a Hindu temple, is situated on the top of a 525-meter cliff in the Dangrek Mountains in Preah Vihear province, about 415 km northwest of capital Phnom Penh. It was inscribed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List in July 2008.