THE SEVEN MOST ENDANGERED UNESCO SITES IN EUROPE

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Ice skatng at Vienna’s Rathaus

 

The historic centre of Vienna: Of great architectural importance and an exceptional center for the development of arts, it has immense significance to Europe’s tangible and intangible culture.
In 2012, a high-rise development was planned on the site of the Vienna Ice-Skating
Club. The development would totally spoil the most famous view of the city
from the Belvedere Palace and Gardens

 

Text Source: Europa Nostra

In 2018 seven UNESCO sites in as many European countries are in grave danger due to various causes. The most endangered heritage landmarks according to Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organisation in Europe, and the European Investment Bank Institute, in conjunction with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, are as follows:

Post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja and Vithkuqi, ALBANIA

The 18th century St Athanasius’ Church in Voskopoje, one of the most representative monuments of 17th-18th century Balkan ecclesiastical art

The twelve of Post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja and Vithkuqi, southeastern Albania, are the most representative monuments of 17th-18th century ecclesiastical art in the Balkans and are masterpieces of the post-Byzantine style. War, plundering and natural disasters have seriously damaged these churches. The surrounding Christian population has greatly declined and a subsequent lack of clergy has resulted in the majority of the churches remaining unused for most of the year. The Church of Saint George in Voskopoja, winner of a Europa Nostra Award in 2011 for its outstanding conservation, now faces the threat of theft and highlights the urgency with which these remarkable churches need to be protected.

Historic Centre of Vienna, AUSTRIA

The Belvedere Palace, theatened by high-rises

In 2001 the Historic Centre of Vienna joined the remarkable ranks of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The centre is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks. Of great architectural importance and an exceptional center for the development of arts, it has immense significance to Europe’s tangible and intangible culture. In 2012, a high-rise development, which will include the rebuilding and enlargement of the Hotel Intercontinental, was planned on the site of the Vienna Ice-Skating Club. The development would totally spoil the most famous view of the city from the Belvedere Palace and Gardens. In 2014, the City Council of Vienna issued a “High-Rise Concept” and a “Glacis Master Plan” which permit the construction of high-rise buildings on several points of the Ringstrasse area. These high-rise buildings would spoil the urban character of this area as well as the roofscapes and morphology of the Historic Centre of Vienna.

The Buzludzha Monument, BULGARIA

Brutalist Buzludzha monument, House-Monument of the Bulgarian Communist Party

The Buzludzha Monument in the heart of Bulgaria is an imposing example of 20th-century architecture. Built in 1981 as the House-Monument of the then ruling Bulgarian Communist Party, the structure was in use for just 8 years. Soon after the end of the Communist regime, the monument was abandoned and has since been victim to thefts, vandalism and severe weather conditions. The ostentatious finish of its Brutalist architecture, heavy iconography and colourful mosaics has decayed. However, the building attracts increasing international attention. No action has been taken by the responsible authorities to protect the site so far.

David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitage, GEORGIA

The David Gareja Monastery complex: 6th century rock-hewn monasteries, sanctuaries and cave cells

The David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitage are on the semi-desert Iori plateau in Eastern Georgia but extend in part into neighbouring Azerbaijan. Dating back to the 6th century, the site is comprised of 22 rock-hewn monasteries and more than 5,000 sanctuaries and cave-cells. The combination of rock architecture, medieval murals, prehistoric archaeology and paleontological fields makes the entire ensemble a masterpiece of Georgian culture. The monastery complex faces the threat of irreversible deterioration. The main problem is the disintegration of the rocks. The churches and other spaces suffer extreme structural damage. The collapse of the structures also threatens the wall paintings. The monatery is still an active monastic center with daily services and this adds to its importance and underlines the urgency of its preservation.

Constanta Casino, ROMANIA

Constata Casino, symbol of Romania’s modernization at the mercy of sea storms

Built in 1910, the Constanta Casino has become a landmark of the Black Sea shore. Daniel Renard, the Swiss Romanian architect who designed the building, opted for a lavish expression of Art Nouveau to reflect Romania’s modernization during the reign of Carol I. After years of alternating commercial and state held responsibility for the building’s care, the Casino was abandoned in the 2000s. It remains so to this day due to local authorities’ inability to find funding and to launch a rescue and restore operation. The main danger to the building comes from the corrosion and rusting of structural metal parts. Sea storms and winds have shattered most of the windows facing the sea. It is very likely that the roof will collapse if this process continues.

The Prinkipo Greek Orphanage, Princes’ Islands, TURKEY

Prinkipo Greek Orphanage, Europe’s largest wooden building in Europe, and the second biggest in the world

The Prinkipo Greek Orphanage is considered the largest wooden building in Europe and the second largest in the world. Located on Prinkipo, on the Princes’ Islands off the coast of Istanbul, it was built in 1899 upon the design of French architect Alexandre Vallaury. The timber framed structure features elaborately decorated wooden columns in the grand hall and panelled ceilings with decorative mouldings. It functioned as an orphanage until its closure in 1964. Since then, the neglected structure has deteriorated. Damaged by a fire in 1980, today the building is exposed to adverse weather conditions. Sections of the roof and corner posts have already fallen. It is now at immediate risk of further collapse

Grimsby Ice Factory, UNITED KINGDOM

The Grimsby Ice Factory is a reminder of Grimsby’s fishing and maritime heritage

The Grimsby Ice Factory is understood to be the UK’s oldest ice factory. Designed by the engineer W. F. Cott, the Factory dates from 1900 and is Grade II* listed a “particularly important and of more than special interest industrial building. The site is arguably the most prominent physical reminder of Grimsby’s fishing and maritime heritage, the largest fishing port in the world at the start of the 20th century. The Factory has been in a state of serious decline since its closure in 1990. The roof is now severely damaged allowing water into the interiors, and much of its metal work and electrical fittings have been stolen. Moreover, there have been threats of demolition. The Factory has remained in private ownership. A mixed-use development proposal by the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, estimated that it could potentially create upwards of 125 jobs, but no funding could be secured. The future of the Ice Factory is uncertain.

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Images
Featured image/Olivier Bruchez, CC BY-SA2.0
St Athanasius ChurchMarkussep via Wikipedia, CC BY_SA3.0
Belvedere: Zatonyi Sandor via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA3.0
Buzludzha Monument/LLeon Hart via Flickr, CC BY2.0
David Gareja monastery/Peter from Bern via Flickr, CC BYSA2.0
Constata Casino/Bundesarchiv, Horst Grund via wikipedia, CC BY-SA3.0
Prinkipo Orphanage/Jwslubbock via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA4.0
Grimsby Ice Factory/Kevincooper777 viaFlickr, CC BY2.0