Andrew J. Wein - May 6, 2013
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Europe's rich architectural heritage maintains the position of one of its biggest draws for tourists. Summer crowds are attracted in overwhelming numbers by its monumental marvels such as Westminster Abbey in England and the Amphitheatre in Italy. A number of places however are in serious danger. Europa Nostra published a list of European landmarks that might disappear in the coming years.

Europa Nostra, the federation for cultural heritage, announced its list of historical landmarks in Europe that are at a risk of disappearing. The list contains monasteries, churches and even an entire city. The organization’s Executive President, Denis de Kergorlay, insisted that its aim is not only to identify the endangered monuments but also to restore them to their original wellbeing by launching a true call for action.

The dangers being faced by various places are of different kinds. The city of Hasankeyf for instance is threatened by a flood while the Renaissance Monastery of San Benedetto Po in Italy is threatened by an earthquake.

Among these 14 sites Europa Nostra plans to choose seven most threatened ones which will be granted dedicated rescue teams of heritage experts and financial specialists that will develop action plans to rescue the landmarks.

List of 14 endangered historical sites in Europe:

1. The Roman Amphitheatre in Durres, Albania

It was discovered in 1966 by a local who noticed a sunken fig tree in the ground. The prime concern for restoring the amphitheater is the local community that might overtake the historic site.

2. St. Paul and Peter Church, Aragatsotn, Armenia

This 5th century Christian structure survived only by exposed stones and collapsing walls and the remains are under the constant threat of a flood.

3. The Buffer Zone of the Historic Centre of Nicosia, Cyprus

The buffer zone created to bring peace between the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot is part of a revitalization project that aims at face lifting of the corridor which might however erase its historic significance.

4. St. George Armenian Church, Mardin, Turkey

This neglected monument has been credited with serving the Turkey's Armenian population from 5th century to the turn of 20th century and is a symbol of Turkey's efforts to safeguard the country's multicultural history.

5. Citadel of Alessandria, Italy

This landmark that is currently under threat of decay is an 18th century marvel and is a witness to Europe's Napoleonic times and unification of Italy.

6. Former Royal Estate of Tatoi, Greece

The lack of support from the local governance has put this testament of Greece's history, nature and architecture under threat. The estate is currently in decay.

7. Berlin's Gas Lamps, Germany

The gas lamps on the streets of Berlin may soon be overtaken by modern electricity in a manner similar to the video killing the radio. The gas lights are perfectly functional but they need a caring hand to enable them remain so.

8. Manueline Style Monastery and Church of Jesus in Setubal, Portugal

Once a witness to the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 between Portugal and Spain, this church as well as the monastery are rapidly decaying.

9. The Neighborhood of El Cabanyal-Canyamelar in Valencia, Spain

Locals of Valencia wish to preserve this seaside neighborhood known for its decorative facades so that the coming generations can also enjoy their beauty. A new road project is the biggest threat.

10. Renaissance Monastery of San Benedetto Po, Mantova, Italy

This monastery of 15th and 16th century is a famous monument of artistic importance that got heavily damaged during an earthquake in 2012. It is highly possible that it will close down if not repaired immediately.

11. Rosia Montana Mining Landscape in Transylvania, Romania

This landscape is a result of three millennia of mining. Oddly enough, it is the current gold mining project that risks damaging the heritage and environment of the place.

12. Neolithic Archaeological Site of Vinea-Belo Brdo, near Belgrade, Serbia

This site has a lot of history underneath but it is faced with a threat of damage from the Danube River and also the lack of funding to carry on excavation to uncover what lies beneath.

13. The Historic City of Hasankeyf and Its Surroundings, Turkey

This city bears a testimony to the human relations shared between Europe and Asia, but is currently under threat by a hydroelectric dam that, if completed, will wipe out almost 80% of the city's monuments by flooding.

14. Vauban's Fortifications in Briancon, France

This fortification that was once made to save the city of Briancon is falling apart from decay and needs help to be restored to its original legacy.

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