Laos is preparing to submit an application to UNESCO for the Plain of Jars to be inscribed on the World Heritage list.
The Vientiane Times reports that country’s Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism recently held a meeting to discuss the plan, with the aim of submitting its nomination next year.
According to Dr Bounthieng Siripaphanh, director general of the ministry’s Heritage Department, the application has been planned for a long time.
“Preparation for the Plain of Jars World Heritage nomination project commenced in 1998 and handbooks were published in 2009. Progress has been steady and persistent because we have faced many difficulties along the way,” Dr Bounthieng was quoted saying. “The challenge now is to find enough money to implement it and ensure that Laos has sufficient technical expertise.
“Through good implementation and management the Plain of Jars will become an even more important heritage tourism site for domestic and foreign visitors,” Dr Bounthieng added.
The Plain of Jars features a series of approximately 2,000 stone “jars”, thought to be up to 3,000 years old. The exact purpose of the jars remains a mystery, with theories ranging from them being containers for rice wine, to being used to collect rainwater for long-distance trade caravans.
If the nomination is accepted, the Plain of Jars would become Laos’ third UNESCO World Heritage site, following the town of Luang Prabang and the cultural site of Vat Phou, Champasak province.