Songkhla’s Pursuit of UNESCO World Heritage Status for Its Old Town

unesco world heritage cultural preservation

Collaborative Efforts for Preservation

The provincial administrative organization (PAO) of Songkhla, a southern province in Thailand, is working together with local civil society to include the old town of Songkhla in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. To achieve this goal, a consultant has been hired to draft a development and management plan that adheres to UNESCO’s guidelines for world heritage sites. This collaborative effort aims to preserve the rich arts, culture, and history that has thrived in Songkhla for over two centuries.

Songkhla’s Cultural Significance

Songkhla serves as a regional trading hub and is one of the two southern provinces in Thailand recognized as national heritage sites. The old town of Songkhla is a popular tourist destination, and its preservation is crucial for learning and sustainable development initiatives. By developing a management plan, the PAO hopes to showcase Songkhla’s unique culture and long-standing tradition, thereby augmenting its potential for UNESCO recognition.

Assessment and Evaluation of Historical Sites

The consultant’s responsibilities include identifying the old town’s outstanding values and establishing evaluation criteria to assess Songkhla’s potential in terms of development and management. In addition, the PAO will gather information about other historical sites within the province and collaborate with experts from various fields to determine their potential for world heritage site recognition.

Proposed Sites for Inclusion

A draft document titled “Songkhla and related communities along Songkhla Lake” has been submitted to the provincial governor for forwarding to the Fine Arts Department. The document suggests four sites within the province for inclusion in the tentative list: Phangyang, Phakho, and Siyang historical communities; Sathing Phra historical community; the old fortress at Khao Daeng and Laem Son; and Songkhla’s old town.

Thailand’s Current UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Thailand presently boasts four cultural and three natural World Heritage Sites. An additional six cultural and natural sites have been listed on the UNESCO Tentative List, including Phuphrabat Historical Park in Udon Thani, Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan in Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom. The inclusion of Songkhla’s old town would further solidify Thailand’s cultural and historical significance on the world stage.