Two Chinese sites listed on world's 100 most endangered

Updated: 2007-06-12 09:17

The leftover fragments and historic context remain endangered and their future in question, WMF said.

One of the most impressive sites listed this year is St. Petersburg Skyline, Russia. The low coherent city skyline untouched since the 18th Century would be irreversible changed by a proposed skyscraper.

WMF said recently, Gazprom, Russia's largest oil company, announced plans to build a 300-meter-high tower, known as "Gazprom- city," in the area. If the project goes forward, it could establish a dangerous precedent of inappropriate siting of tower blocks in historic towns. Furthermore, the project could jeopardize the historic city center's UNESCO World Heritage status.

The World Monument Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites, launched in 1996, calls international attention to cultural heritage sites around the world that are at risk because of neglect, natural disaster, armed conflict, environmental degradation and other threats.

For many historic sites, inclusion on the list is the best, and sometimes the only, hope for survival. So far some 75 percent of Watch sites -- from the famous and familiar to the unexpected and remote -- have been saved or are now out of danger, thanks to timely intervention.

This year's watch list was selected from about 200 nominations by an independent panel of international experts convened by WMF.
The 100 sites are from 59 countries, with the United States topping the list by eight sites.

Since 1996, WMF has made more than 500 grants totaling more than US$47 million to 214 watch sites in 74 countries. These funds have leveraged more than US$124 million from other sources as a result of the momentum created by inclusion of sites on the watch list.

WMF, founded in 1965, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic art and architecture worldwide through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training. It is headquartered in New York City and has offices and affiliates in Paris, London, Madrid and Lisbon.