The 25 world attractions added to a new endangered ‘watch list’

Sites face ‘daunting threats’, according to World Monuments Fund

Helen Coffey
Friday 01 November 2019 18:31

Historic sites around the world that are under threat have been named in a new watch list.

The World Monuments Fund (WMF), an independent organisation devoted to saving the world’s treasured places, has revealed its list for 2020, which includes 25 attractions that are particularly endangered.

Entries include Notre-Dame in Paris, the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru and Rapa Nui National Park on Chile’s Easter Island.

WMF said these sites are facing “daunting threats such as encroaching urbanisation, political turmoil, natural disaster, and violent conflicts, or present compelling conservation opportunities”.

The list comprises sites that combine great historical significance with contemporary social impact.

The San Antonio Woolworth Building in Texas, which was important in the American civil rights movement due to being the site of the first successful desegregated lunch counter, is on the list after being threatened by a redevelopment plan.

Notre-Dame cathedral was also added following a devastating fire last year, while the prospect of a new airport is threatening the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Every two years, communities and individuals nominate heritage sites in need of urgent attention, whose conservation could help trigger social change.

WMF received more than 250 nominations for its 2020 list, with the final 25 selected by an independent panel of heritage experts.

The programme will culminate in spring next year, when sponsor American Express will choose the most deserving sites to receive $1m in funding for conservation initiatives.

“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 Bénédicte de Montlaur, CEO of WMF.

“These remarkable sites demand sustainable, community-led solutions that bring people together and fuse conservation with social change. We are excited for the World Monuments Watch to kick start that impact.”

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WMF and American Express have contributed $160m to restore and maintain more than 800 historic and culturally significant sites since 1996.

Here’s the full list of at-risk places.

2020 endangered watch list

  1. Koutammakou, Land of the Batammariba, Benin and Togo
  2. Ontario Place, Canada
  3. Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island, Chile
  4. Alexan Palace, Egypt
  5. Notre-Dame de Paris, France
  6. Tusheti National Park, Georgia
  7. Gingerbread Neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  8. Historic Water Systems of the Deccan Plateau, India
  9. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, India
  10. Mam Rashan Shrine, Iraq
  11. Inari-yu Bathhouse, Japan
  12. Iwamatsu District, Japan
  13. Canal Nacional, Mexico
  14. Choijin Lama Temple, Mongolia
  15. Traditional Burmese Teak Farmhouses, Myanmar
  16. Chivas and Chaityas of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
  17. Anarkali Bazaar, Pakistan
  18. Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru
  19. Kindler Chapel, Pabianice Evangelical Cemetery, Poland
  20. Courtyard Houses of Axerquía, Spain
  21. Bennerley Viaduct, United Kingdom
  22. Bears Ears National Monument, USA
  23. Central Aguirre Historic District, USA
  24. San Antonio Woolworth Building, USA
  25. Traditional Houses in the Old Jewish Mahalla of Bukhara, Uzbekistan

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