25 heritage sites in danger

25 heritage sites in danger
The Hurst Castle after it was damaged in a winter storm in 2021. ©ExploringWithin on YouTube/World Monuments Fund

From a wall of the Hurst Castle in the United Kingdom that crumbled under a winter storm, to the destruction of Beirut‘s historic buildings in Lebanon due to a massive explosion, the 2022 World Monuments Fund highlighted 25 historic locations to watch.

The World Monuments Fund is an independent organization dedicated to preserving diverse cultural heritage sites. It’s list, launched in 1996 is published every two years to raise awareness of sites in need of preservation. The WMF says since the inception of the list, it has contributed more than $110 million toward projects at more than 300 Watch sites worldwide. 

This year’s list was comprised after receiving 225 nominations which were reviewed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and an independent panel of international heritage experts.

 Those spotlighted in the 2022 list come from 24 countries and fall under four distinct categories of global challenges: Climate Change, Underrepresentation, Imbalance Tourism, and Crisis Recovery.

Locations threatened by Climate Change

The World Monuments Fund said as global warming continues to intensify worldwide, “innovative methods, as well as reinforcement of traditional knowledge, are necessary to mitigate its impact on heritage places and help communities adapt.”

The list spans climate change concerns worldwide. It ranges from the Hurst Castle in the United Kingdom, whose wall crumbled during a winter storm in February 2021, to the coral stone architecture of the Koagannu Mosques and Cemetery in the Maldives threatened by rising sea levels, to highlighting the need to preserve two ancient water distribution systems in Nepal and Peru that are still in use today. 

Sites at risk due to underrepresentation

The WMF also chose to highlight sites where “inequities in heritage result in oversight and neglect of many significant places.” By spotlighting places like Texas’ Garcia Pasture in the United States, the traditional territory of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe whose ancestral lands are under threat from natural resource extraction, to the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home in Australia which remembers Aboriginal boys who were forcibly taken from their families, the WMF hopes to amplify “narratives that tell a more textured, just and complete story of humanity.”

This is an excerpt from an article by Melissa Yearger, originally published by Lonely Planet.

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