The World Monuments Fund has unveiled its 2020 World Monuments Watch list, a biennial compilation of heritage sites in need of conservation efforts. The New York-based group is dedicated to raising awareness and preserving endangered “treasured places” around the world.
For the 2020 Watch list, over 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 — be it encroaching urbanisation, political turmoil, natural disasters or violent conflicts.
This year’s selection reflects key issues and themes such as the elevation of indigenous voices; historic and underrepresented sites; urbanisation 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 the iconic 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. “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 US$1 million in funding for conservation initiatives. WMF, with the support of its main financial backer American Express, says it has contributed US$110 million to help maintain more than 800 sites since 1996.
Here’s a full list of the 25 sites:
Koutammakou, Land of the Batammariba, Benin and Togo
Ontario Place, Canada
Rapa Nui National Park, Chile
Alexan Palace, Egypt
Notre Dame de Paris, France
Tusheti National Park, Georgia
Gingerbread Neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Historic Water Systems of the Deccan Plateau, India
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, India
Mam Rashan Shrine, Iraq
Inari-yu Bathhouse, Japan
Iwamatsu District, Japan
Canal Nacional, Mexico
Choijin Lama Temple, Mongolia
Traditional Burmese Teak Farmhouses, Myanmar
Chivas and Chaityas of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Anarkali Bazaar, Pakistan
Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru
Kindler Chapel, Pabianice Evangelical Cemetery, Poland
Courtyard Houses of Axerquía, Spain
Bennerley Viaduct, United Kingdom
Bears Ears National Monument, USA
Central Aguirre Historic District, USA
San Antonio Woolworth Building, USA
Traditional Houses in the Old Jewish Mahalla of Bukhara, Uzbekistan