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Monuments Fund Names ‘At Risk’ Sites

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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The World Monuments Fund announced the 2010 World Monuments Watch, a list of 93 sites in 43 countries termed “at risk.” The list includes nine sites in the U.S. and 15 dating from the 20th century, and ranges from the world renowned (Machu Picchu, Peru), to the remote (Phajoding, a monastery high in the mountains of Bhutan), to the surprising (Merritt Parkway, Connecticut), to the little-known (the desert castles of ancient Khorezm, Uzbekistan).

The World Monuments Fund for more than 40 years has worked to preserve cultural heritage around the world, and calls the Watch its flagship advocacy program for directing international attention to threatened sites of historic and cultural significance.

“The 2010 Watch tells compelling stories of human aspiration, imagination, and adaptation,” the organization said. “The need for collective action and sustainable stewardship are common themes running through the 2010 list, and the 93 sites vividly illustrate the ever-more pressing need to create a balance between heritage concerns and the social, economic, and environmental interests of communities around the world.”

Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund, said the sites on the 2010 Watch list “make a dramatic case for the need to bring together a variety of sectors—economic, environmental, heritage preservation, and social—when we are making plans that will affect us all.”

The sites on the 2010 list range from the prehistoric to the contemporary, and include schools, libraries, municipal buildings, places of worship, roadways, aqueducts, row houses, bridges, gateways, parks, follies, cultural landscapes, archaeological remains, historic city centers, castles, private houses, forts, tombs, and ancient petroglyphs and cave art.

Erica Avrami, the organization’s research and education director, said that not all sites on the Watch list are in imminent danger, but said many “face challenges on the horizon, providing the opportunity to engage in dialogue and decision-making now, so as to avoid problems in the future.”

Some of the highlighted sites on the Watch list include:

desert castles of Uzbekistan 

• Desert castles of ancient Khorezm, Uzbekistan;

• Traditional townhouses called machiya, dating as far back as the early 1600s, in Kyoto, Japan;

• Antoni Gaudi’s Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, in Barcelona;

• The Suq al-Qaysariya in Bahrain, one of the few remaining traditional suqs—or marketplaces—in the Persion Gulf region;

Gingerbread houses of Haiti 

• The Gingerbread Houses of Port-au-Prince, Haiti;

• The historic city center of Sevilla, Spain;

• The cultural landscape of Hadley, Massachusetts, a rare survivor of 17th-century British agricultural traditions;

• The vernacular architecture of the Kazakh Steppe, Kazakhstan, comprising necropolises and mausoleums dating to the 18th century;

• The 16th-century rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras;

• Ancient petroglyphs in Pakistan’s Northern Areas;

• Taos Pueblo, New Mexico;

The Phajoding Monastery of Bhutan

• The Phajoding monastery, Bhutan;

• Chankillo, Peru, believed to be the earliest-known astronomical observatory in the Americas;

• Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and Taliesin West;

Merritt Parkway in Connecticut

• Bridges of the Merritt Parkway, Connecticut

• The now-abandoned Sanatorium Joseph Lemaire, Belgium;

• Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico, a series of canals, pools, and architectural follies constructed in the mid-20th century;

• The al-Hadba’ Minaret, in Mosul, Iraq, one of the few original elements in the medieval Nur al-Din complex;

• St. Louis Cemetery no. 2 and Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, New Orleans;

• The Dutch Fort in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka;

• The Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Details on the complete Watch list are available on the website located at www.wmf.org.

   

Tagged categories: Architecture; Historic Preservation

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