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25 endangered cultural sites added to 2020 World Monuments Watch list

The World Monument Fund just released its list of endangered sites

A cathedral building with two identical towers and three arched entrances.
Cathedral de Notre Dame in Paris, before the fire in April 2019.
Courtesy WMF

Even the most important cultural and architectural sites aren’t immune to a chaotic world. Between war, natural disasters, and plain old capitalistic development, countless cultural heritage sites are in need of protection and preservation.

Every other year, the World Monuments Fund lays out which of those sites is most at risk through its World Monument Watch, and for 2020, the organization has flagged 25 monuments, buildings, and communities worldwide that “marry great historical significance with contemporary social impact.”

A rectangular white building with columns face a pool of water.
The Historic Water Systems of the Deccan Plateau in Karnataka and Maharashtra, India.
Joginder Singh

Some of the sites, like Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, are more restoration-oriented projects. Another, the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, is facing encroaching urbanization with the plan for building a new airport in the region.

Many of the sites are nominated in an effort to keep their historically significant stories alive, including the San Antonio Woolworth Building in Texas, a civil rights hub that’s being threatened by a redevelopment plan. While others, like Gingerbread Neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Central Aguirre Historic District in Puerto Rico, are in need of funds to rebuild after natural disasters.

Next spring, a group of the sites will be chosen to receive grant money totaling $1 million. You can check out all of the chosen sites and the issues they face at the World Monument Fund’s site.

A white building features arched entryways on the ground level, second story balconies, and pointy volumes on its roof.
Gingerbread Houses of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Columbia GSAPP, courtesy of WMF
Three-story building on a street corner.
Woolworth Building in San Antonio, Texas.
Ron Bauml, San Antonio Conservation Society, courtesy of WMF
Red rocks park at sunrise.
Bears Ears National Park, USA.
Josh Ewing, Friends of Cedar Mesa, courtesy of WMF