New list names 25 heritage sites around the world that are ‘at-risk’

05 Nov 2019 / 11:53 H.

NOTRE-Dame de Paris, Easter Island and Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas are among 25 new cultural heritage sites that have been named to a list of world monuments deemed at-risk and in need of urgent action.

The New York-based outfit World Monuments Fund released its 2020 World Monuments Watch list recently, a biennial selection of heritage sites in need of conservation efforts. The group works to raise awareness and save endangered “treasured places” around the world.

For the 2020 Watch list, more than 250 sites were nominated by communities and individuals. The pool of nominees was then whittled down by an independent panel of heritage experts who looked at the historical significance, social impact and level of threats facing the sites: encroaching urbanization, political turmoil, natural disasters or violent conflicts.

This year’s selection reflects key issues and themes, organizers point out, including the elevation of indigenous voices; historic and underrepresented sites; urbanization and development; and disaster recovery.

Desecration, for instance, has put Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument – a sacred site for indigenous groups in the US at risk -- while proposed airport construction threatens the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru.

The San Antonio Woolworth Building in Texas is a landmark of the African-American Civil Rights Movement but could be lost to redevelopment, while the fire that gutted Notre-Dame de Paris tore through more than 850 years of history.

The 25 sites span 21 countries and date from prehistory to the 20th century.

“The 2020 World Monuments Watch includes iconic treasures like Easter Island and socially-significant sites like the San Antonio Woolworth Building, reminding us that cherished places are determined not just by their architectural value, but also by their impact on communities around the world,“ said WMF CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur in a statement.

“These remarkable sites demand sustainable, community-led solutions that bring people together and fuse conservation with social change.”

Next spring, a group of sites selected from the 2020 Watch list will receive a total of $1 million in funding for conservation initiatives.

Here are the 25 sites:

Koutammakou, Land of the Batammariba, Benin and Togo

Ontario Place, Canada

Rapa Nui National Park, Chile

Alexan Palace, Egypt

Notre-Dame de Paris, France

Tusheti National Park, Georgia

Gingerbread Neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Historic Water Systems of the Deccan Plateau, India

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, India

Mam Rashan Shrine, Iraq

Inari-yu Bathhouse, Japan

Iwamatsu District, Japan

Canal Nacional, Mexico

Choijin Lama Temple, Mongolia

Traditional Burmese Teak Farmhouses, Myanmar

Chivas and Chaityas of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Anarkali Bazaar, Pakistan

Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru

Kindler Chapel, Pabianice Evangelical Cemetery, Poland

Courtyard Houses of Axerquía, Spain

Bennerley Viaduct, United Kingdom

Bears Ears National Monument, USA

Central Aguirre Historic District, USA

San Antonio Woolworth Building, USA

Traditional Houses in the Old Jewish Mahalla of Bukhara, Uzbekistan

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