Worldwide Heritage in danger (2)

Cultural Landscapes


• Monuments

Parthenon, Athens - Greece

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Cairo - Egypt

Palenque, Mexico. Monuments of Mesoamerican civilizations

The mausoleum of Taj Mahal, Agra -India

Leshan giant Buddha, mount Emei - China

Sounion, Attica - Greece

Brauron, Attica - Greece

• Groups of buildings

Flooded Piazza San Marco by night, Venice - Italy. See

The Great Wall of China

Sankore mosque, Timbuktu - Mali. Monuments of Tuareg civilization

• Archaeological sites (open air areas, subterranean or coastal)

Stone Age Tulor Village, Atacama - Chile. See

Iraki culrural heritage in critical condition. See

Agia Irene Bronze Age settlement, Keos island - Greece

Avenue of the Lions, Delos island - Greece

• Mobile objects, archival material, scientific works

See:    The Royal Library of Alexandria - Egypt, the largest, and by far the most famous, of the libraries of the ancient world
                   Great libraries of the ancient world
                   Archival material in Europe
                   Archival material in South Africa
                  Archival material in North America
                 Manuscripts in the Monasteries of Mt. Athos
                 The civilization of Mount Athos
                  Places and discoveries of papyri 
                  Collections and editions of papyri
                 The manuscripts and libraries of Timbuktu - ancient Mali empire

• Palaeontological and palaeoanthropological remains

• Industrial sites

 The blast furnace complex and industrial settlements in Starachowice are located in a region with mining-foundry traditions that date back to the beginning of the Christian era (earth smelting) and lasted without a break up to the 19th century. It is a very early example of mechanised metallurgy. According to UNESCO's Endangered List, old technological installations are prone to corrosion. Stopping or even slowing this process is extremely expensive. The technological problems associated with the maintenance of the blast furnace buildings, damaged by years of exposure to high temperatures, remain unsolved. At the present, the old factory halls are the site of an exposition of geological specimens unearthed during construction works.

See: List of preserved historic blast furnaces

 The old bridge over the Vistula River, is located in the town of Tczew (Dirschau), in Poland. The Tczew-Bridge, built between 1851 and 1857, is composed of six spans of about 130 metres each. They were connected by twos to continuous beams, a very innovative construction method in those early times. According to UNESCO's Endangered List, today, three of the original spans of the old bridge still exist, along with segments added at a later date. They form a unique and important monument of the European history of structural engineering. At present, the old 830-metre long bridge is only used by a small amount of local traffic.

• Landscapes of memory (e.g. languages, oral traditions, sacred and mythical landscapes)

Endangered languages. Intangible Heritage - UNESCO

• Museums and collections

The Musée de Montmartre is managed by the Société du Vieux Montmartre which originated in 1886 and since 1960 is located in one of the oldest houses on the hill, dating from the 17th century. It is the former residence of Claude Delarose, known also as Rosimond, an actor and friend of Moliere who succeeded him in most of his roles. It was listed as a Musée de France in 2003. 12, rue Cortot, 75018 Paris. Photo: Didier Rykner, Image source

In early 2003, Paris museums (Orsay, Louvre and four others) moved treasures (100,000 works of art ) away to a storage site in the north of the city, in a precautionary measure against possible flood danger from the River Seine. French Minister for Culture and Communication Jean-Jacques Aillagon said the removal was the biggest undertaken since World War II, when many works were removed out of Paris to the south of the country which was not occupied by German troops. The police had warned the water levels in the city could rise to record levels attained in 1910, which would have catastrophic consequences for works of art currently kept underground.

• Caves of archaeological interest

Black Mold Patches Visible Above Cow's Horns, Lascaux, France. Credit: French Ministry of Culture. See


Dunhuang Mogao Caves, China

• Underwater cultural heritage

Cosquer Cave, near Marseille -France.The Panel of the Black Horses. Photo J. Clottes. See

Cenote Kankirixche Mukuyche, Yucatan - Mexico. Cenotes, the Mayan Underworld. See

Satellite view of the Black Sea, taken by NASA MODIS. Mesolithic coastal settlements 7 ky old (before the deluge) lie beneath water surface

Diolkos, Corinth -Greece. For the whole history of monument's destruction, ask for Sofia Loverdou's archive

Loughbrickland Cannog in N. Ireland. Prehistoric and medieval dwelling places near water surface, in Ireland and Scotland

Alexandria from Space, March 1990. Remnants of the Lighthouse (Pharos) and the Hellenistic palace of Cleopatra are beneath the Mediterranean waters

Varanasi (Benares), on the banks of the River Ganges - Indian state of Uttar Pradesh

Seashore at Mamallapuram with the Shore Temple in the background. Mahabalipuram underwater city in Indian Ocean - Indian state of Tamil Nadu

Amphorae from Dokos, the oldest known underwater shipwreck discovery known to archeologists, dated to the Proto-Helladic II period (2700-2200 BC), SW Aegean - Greece. Mediterranean waters cover a plethora of ancient shipwrecks

• Antiquities far from their homeland: stolen, illegally excavated or illegally exported

The bust of Nefertiti (ca 1370 - 1330 BC: the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten), a 3300-year-old painted limestone bust of  the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. Due to the bust, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world as well as icon of female beauty. The bust is believed to have been crafted in 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose. A German archeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered the Nefertiti bust in 1912 in Thutmose's workshop in Amarna, Egypt. It has been kept at several locations in Germany since its discovery, including a salt mine in Merkers-Kieselbach, the Dahlem museum (then in West Berlin),   the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg and the Altes Museum. It is currently  on display at the Neues Museum, Berlin where it was displayed before World War II.

The Elgin Marbles (the Parthenon Marbles), are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799–1803, had obtained a controversial permission from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Acropolis. The legality of the removal has been questioned and the debate continues as to whether the Marbles should remain in the British Museum or be returned to Athens.

Priam’s Treasure is a cache of gold and other artifacts discovered by excavator Heinrich Schliemann, who claimed the site to be that of ancient Troy, assigning the artifacts to the Homeric king Priam. The layer in which Priam's Treasure was alleged to have been found was assigned to Troy II, whereas Priam would have been king of Troy VI or VIIa, occupied hundreds of years later. Later Schliemann traded some treasure to the government of the Ottoman Empire in exchange for permission to dig at Troy again. It is located in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The rest was acquired in 1880 by the Imperial Museum of Berlin, in whose hands it remained until 1945, when it disappeared from a protective bunker beneath the Berlin Zoo. In fact, the treasure had been removed to the Soviet Union by the Red Army. In September 1993 the treasure turned up at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. The return of items taken from museums has been arranged in a treaty with Germany but, as of January 2010, is being blocked by museum directors in Russia. They are keeping the looted art, they say, as compensation for the destruction of Russian cities and looting of Russian museums by Nazi Germany in World War II.

Denderah Zodiac, an amazing astronomical chart which was torn from the Temple of Hathor at Denderah - Egypt-  by French general Louis Charles Antoine Desaix in 1821. The zodiac is a planisphere or map of the stars on a plane projection, showing the 12 constellations of the zodiacal band forming 36 decans of ten days each, and the planets. These decans are groups of first-magnitude stars. These were used in the ancient Egyptian calendar, which was based on lunar cycles of around 30 days and on the heliacal rising of the star Sothis (Sirius). Image source

Aphrodite of  Melos (Venus da Milo) is an ancient Greek statue, one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created at some time between 130 and 100 BC, it is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. Its arms and original plinth have been lost. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch; it was earlier mistakenly attributed to the master sculptor Praxiteles. It is at present on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris, after an episodic history of recovery and acquisition.

The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact which was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. It is a Ptolemaic era stele with carved text made up of three translations of a single passage: two in Egyptian language scripts (hieroglyphic and Demotic) and one in classical Greek. It was created in 196 BC, discovered by the French in 1799 at Rosetta and contributed greatly to the deciphering of the principles of hieroglyph writing in 1822 by the British scientist Thomas Young and the French scholar Jean-François Champollion. The text on the stone is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing the repeal of various taxes and instructions to erect statues in temples. Two Egyptian-Greek multilingual steles predated Ptolemy V's Rosetta Stone: Ptolemy III's Decree of Canopus, 239 BC, and Ptolemy IV's Decree of Memphis, ca 218 BC. It is 114.4 centimetres (45.0 in) high at its highest point, 72.3 centimetres (28.5 in) wide, and 27.9 centimetres (11.0 in) thick.  It is unfinished on its sides and reverse. Weighing approximately 760 kilograms (1,700 lb), it was originally thought to be granite or basalt but is currently described as granodiorite of a dark grey-pinkish colour. The stone has been on public display at The British Museum since 1802.

See: Save Antiquities for Everyone. Treaties and legislation