Training and workshops at Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Mongolia

Workshop on formulation of a site management plan
Survey of building conservation and restoration in progress

 This year marks the third year of work carried out at Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Mongolia in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science of Mongolia (MECS) as part of the Networking Core Centers project commissioned by Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs. This year, expert teams were sent in late June and late August.
 In accordance with the topics covered at last year’s workshops, this April the Mongolian government enforced its decision to establish a protected area around the site based on the Cultural Heritage Law. The protected area is vast, including the monastery itself as well as the surrounding landscape, archaeological sites related to the monastery’s construction, and sacred and traditional sites. Specific constraints such as restrictions on development in the area are a major topic this year. With each team sent, a workshop was held with attendees from the province, district, monastery, and local community in order to encourage efforts by Mongolia’s Selenge Province to formulate plans for site management. Many issues were discussed, among which was the substantial delay in collecting essential information and setting up a framework to formulate a site management plan on the part of Selenge Province. Nevertheless, basic policies to be incorporated in the plan were summarized in recommendations to the province.
 In conjunction with these efforts, the team sent in August included Japanese specialists in restoring historical wooden buildings who trained junior Mongolian conservation specialists in surveys for architectural conservation and restoration. This training is a continuation of that last year and the year before. Trainees practiced surveying a temple building that has suffered extensive damage and they participated in steps from quantitatively determining the extent of that damage to preparing estimates of materials needed for restoration work. Historical structures within the monastery are dilapidated and extensively damaged and thus are in quite urgent need of restoration. By itself, Mongolia would have difficulty ensuring the technical standards for restoration. Calls for technical assistance from other countries like Japan are mounting. Discussion with representatives of the Mongolian government must continue in order to find ways to meet that need in the future.

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