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

Relaxnews (AFP) logoRelaxnews (AFP) 11/4/2019 Relaxnews
a group of people standing in front of a building: Notre-Dame de Paris © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP Notre-Dame de Paris

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. 

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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:

  1. Koutammakou, Land of the Batammariba, Benin and Togo 
  2. Ontario Place, Canada 
  3. Rapa Nui National Park, Chile 
  4. Alexan Palace, Egypt 
  5. Notre-Dame de Paris, France 
  6. Tusheti National Park, Georgia 
  7. Gingerbread Neighborhood 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 

Visit wmf.org/2020watch for more.

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