THE HAGUE (Public Radio of Armenia)—Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage organization, and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIBI) announced the 14 monuments and sites that were shortlisted for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ Programme 2016 by an international panel of experts in various fields. Among these endangered landmarks from 14 European countries are: Archaeological site of Ererouyk and village of Ani Pemza in Armenia.
Sitting on a rocky plateau close to the Turkish‐Armenian border, Ererouyk was once one of the most important centers of worship in the region. Despite some restoration works undertaken in the last two decades, the 6th century basilica remains highly endangered. The surrounding archaeological area is at risk of being lost before it can be comprehensively studied. The Centre of Studies and Documentation of Armenian Culture in Italy (CSDCA), which made the nomination for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ 2016, proposes a multidisciplinary project in order to study and rehabilitate the site and the establishment of a transnational archaeological park along the Akhurian River. The village of Ani Pemza, built in 1926 and located a few hundred meters away, could serve as a cultural tourism center, thus contributing to the socioeconomic revitalization of the area.
Others on the list include the Palace of Justice in Brussels, Belgium; Patarei Sea Fortress in Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki-Malmi Airport, Finland; Colbert Swing Bridge in Dieppe, France; Castle in Divitz,Germany; Kampos of Chios, Greece; Venice Lagoon, Italy; Castle Rijswijk, the Netherlands; Y-block in Oslo, Norway; Valflores Palace and Estate, near Lisbon,Portugal; Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, Extremadura, Spain; Ancient city of Hasankeyf and its surroundings, Turkey; and Mavisbank House, near Edinburgh, the United Kingdom. Some of these sites are in danger due to neglect or inadequate planning and development, and others due to lack of resources or expertise. The final list of 7 most endangered heritage sites in Europe will be unveiled at a public event in Venice on 16 March 2016.
The 14 shortlisted monuments and sites were selected taking into account their outstanding heritage and cultural value as well as the grave danger that they are facing. The commitment of various public and private stakeholders and the engagement of the local communities to rescuing those sites were also considered essential. Another important criterion was the potential of these sites to serve as a resource and a driver of sustainable development for the wider region in which they are located.
Nominations for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ Programme 2016 were submitted by civil society or public bodies which form part of Europa Nostra’s vast network of member and associate organizations from all over Europe. Fourteen sites were shortlisted by a panel of experts in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance. The final list of 7 most endangered heritage sites in Europe will be selected by the Board of Europa Nostra.
‘The 7 Most Endangered’ Programme was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra with the European Investment Bank Institute as founding partner and the Council of Europe Development Bank as associated partner. It was inspired by a successful similar project run by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation. ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ is not a funding program. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action and to promote “the power of example”. ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ has the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, as part of Europa Nostra’s 3-year Network Project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’.
“Europa Nostra welcomes the growing recognition by EU Institutions, including the European Investment Bank, that Cultural Heritage indeed counts for Europe: it is a driver for sustainable development and a cohesive force for our multicultural societies. Our advocacy Programme ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ has a great significance, but its goals can only be achieved with widespread support from EU Institutions and with joint action by different public and private partners. We therefore count on them to assist Europa Nostra and our members to rescue and give a new life to our shared heritage,” stated Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra.
“Experts from the EIB Institute will visit and analyze the selected 7 most endangered heritage sites in Europe and will contribute to the formulation of realistic action plans. The case in favor of those sites will thus become more visible and more credible. Experience over the last few years shows moreover that the local and national ownership and involvement is particularly crucial when it comes to mobilizing support to save the selected endangered sites,” added Guy Clausse, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute.