25 Images Capture at-Risk Heritage Sites of the Latest World Monuments Watch

The World Monuments Fund shines a light on landmarks in over 30 countries and territories that are in desperate need of conservation

"Japan, Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium" The Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium, seen from the southwest, was designed to evoke the form of a traditional Japanese wooden barge, 2014 Noriyuki Kawanishi/World Monuments Fund
"Zimbabwe, Matobo Hills Cultural Landscape" The grave of Cecil Rhodes in World’s View receives thousands of visitors each year, 2016 Stephen Battle/World Monuments Fund
A painted dome in the interior of the Mosque of al-Mudhaffar, in Yemen, 2008 Pierre Blanchard/World Monuments Fund
The Ben Moore Hotel in Montgomery, once home to the Majestic Cafe, was the site of important meetings for the Civil Rights movement, 2017 William Abranowicz/ World Monuments Fund
The cavernous passenger concourse of Buffalo Central Terminal in its current condition, 2017 Joe Casico/World Monuments Fund
Thailand, Chao Phraya River Nataliia Sokolovska / Shutterstock/ World Monuments Fund
"Morocco, Jewish Quarter of Essaouira" Many structures in the Jewish Quarter are abandoned and crumbling, 2017 Amine Bennour/World Monuments Fund
"Peru, Cerro de Oro" A child’s tomb, containing vessels and musical instruments, 2017 Carol Rodriguez/World Monuments Fund
"Syria, Souk of Aleppo" In the Souk of Aleppo, with a Mamluk portal leading to a courtyard to the right, 2008 Adli Qudsi/World Monuments Fund
"Pakistan, Historic Karachi" The Mendoza Building on Arambagh Road, near Pakistan Chowk, lies abandoned, 2011 HC-DAPNED/World Monuments Fund
"Nigeria, Sukur Cultural Landscape" Traditional Sukur houses are round clay buildings with thatched roofs, 2006 NCMM/Dipo Alafiatayo/ World Monuments Fund
"Italy, Amatrice" The bell tower of the medieval church of Sant’Emidio survived the earthquake of August 24, 2016 and subsequent tremors, 2017 MIBACT/World Monuments Fund
"United Kingdom, Blackpool Piers" Waves crash against the Blackpool sea wall, with the Central Pier in the background Jil Lamb/ Flickr/ World Monuments Fund
"Chile, Ramal Talca-Constitución" Four historic railbuses run on the Talca-Constitución narrow-gage line, 2006 Erick Cespedes/ Wikimedia Commons/ World Monuments Fund
"Israel, Lifta" The Jerusalem landscape seen through the ruins of a house at Lifta, 2017 World Monuments Fund
"France, Potager du Roi" View across the central fountain in the Grand Carré towards the north, with a statue of Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie and the cityscape beyond, 2015 Alexandre Petzold/World Monuments Fund
"Iraq, Al-Hadba’ Minaret" The base and shaft of the al-Hadba’ Minaret were decorated with ornamental brickwork, seen here before its destruction, 2009 Mosab Mohammed Jaseem/World Monuments Fund
"India, Post-Independence Architecture of Delhi" The Hall of Nations, a complex of exhibition hallsbuilt for the 1972 International Trade Fair, was demolished in April 2017 Ariel Huber, Lausanne/World Monuments Fund
"Spain, Tebaida Leonesa" The thirteenth-century Romanesque Church of San Pedro de Montes in Valdueza, seen from the north, 2015 Escuela del Patrimonio Cultural/World Monuments Fund
"Egypt, Eliyahu haNavi Synagogue" A portion of the roof of the synagogue collapsed recent-ly, 2017 The International Nebi Daniel Association/World Monuments Fund
"Egypt, Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani" Inside the mausoleum, an ornate calligraphic band in interlaced Mamluk thuluth script is seen at the level below the the dome, 2017 Matjaz Kacicnik/World Monuments Fund
"Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico" Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma, 2017 Steve W./ Flicker/ World Monuments Fund
"Antigua and Barbuda, Government House" An accessory building is on the verge of collapse, 2015 Philip Logan/World Monuments Fund
"Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico" Via Blanca and Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso in Habana, after Hurricane Maria, 2017 Sergei Montalvo Aróstegui/World Monuments Fund
"Australia, Sirius Building" View of the Sirius Building from the east, 2016 Glenn Harper/World Monuments Fund
"China, Grand Theater, Prince Kung’s Mansion" An outdoor corridor runs along the west side of the Grand Theater, 2017 Yu Zhixin/World Monuments Fun

An abandoned synagogue in Egypt. A crumbling train terminal in Buffalo, New York. An Antiguan government house pummeled by earthquakes and hurricanes. These threatened cultural spots are among 25 sites that were named in the latest World Monuments Watch list, which identifies heritage sites in desperate need of conservation.

As Grace Halio reports for ARTnews, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) releases the watch lists every two years, and has thus far issued a call to action for 814 endangered sites. The organization has also dedicated more than $100 million to preservation efforts, reports Condé Nast Traveler.

This year’s selection of at-risk heritage locations, which are listed on the WMF website, face a range of pressing threats. Some, like the Souk of Aleppo in Syria, have been nearly devastated by warfare. Prior to the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, the centuries-old souk was a bustling market. But in 2012, the souk was consumed by a fire that broke out during a battle between Syrian forces and insurgents.

Natural disasters and climate change have jeopardized a number of sites on the watch list. The WMF’s inclusion of “Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico,” for instance, calls attention to areas that were pounded by multiple hurricanes in August and September of this year. The entire Italian hill town of Amatrice, which was largely reduced to rubble by a 2016 earthquake, is named as a site of concern. The Blackpool Piers, a historic seaside destination on the English coast, is rendered vulnerable by rising sea levels.

In the United States, 12 Civil Rights sites in Alabama including churches, homes and a hotel, have fallen victim to urban development, which uprooted the communities that once surrounded them, and also are troubled by limited resources to maintain the heritage sites. ("[W]hereas several sites have been able to rely on the African American Civil Rights Grant Program of the U.S. National Park Service in 2016 and 2017, future funding for this vital grant program is now at risk of being lost," the WMF notes.)

The Jewish Quarter in Essaouira, Morocco, is suffering from neglect. Once home to a thriving Jewish community, the neighborhood began to decline when Jews left Morocco en masse after the founding of Israel. “Some structures remain abandoned, crumbling or demolished due to safety concerns,” the WMF explains, “while others have been converted into boutique shops and hotels, with little regard to the history of the area and the architecture.”

The WMF publishes its watch list every other year to bolster public awareness of at-risk heritage sites—and to highlight unique opportunities to protect and preserve them.

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