On 8 April, Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB) announced their yearly selection of Europe’s seven most endangered heritage sites. With their election, the places are eligible for an EIB heritage grant of up to €10.000. Elected sites can use the money to organise an activity to save them from destruction.
The seven most endangered list includes plenty of religious heritage, such as the Historic Cemetry Complex of Mirogoj in Zagreb (Croatia), the Dečani Monastery in Kosovo and the San Juan de Socueva Chapel and Hermitage in Cantabria (Spain).
Other sites are located in Austria (the Achensee Steam Cog Railway), Italy (The Giusti Garden in Verona) and North-Macedonia (Skopje’s Central Post Office). The largest ”site” is the so-called Cycladic landscape. It stretches out over five Greek islands: Amorgos, Kimolos, Kithira, Sikinos and Tinos. (Text continues below slideshow)
Lots of work ahead
Now that the endangered spaces and places are decided, the real work is yet to start. A team of experts will now come together with the nominated heritage sites and key stakeholders, according to Europa Nostra. The teams will provide advice, look for additional funding and set recommendations for the site’s future.
Europe’s cultural heritage is precious and deserves our utmost attention and protection.
European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel
During the online presentation of the list, Guy Clausse, Executive Vice-President of Europa Nostra, underlined the urgency to act and protect the sites. ”These sites are important testimonies of our shared past, memory and identity.” He also hoped Europa Nostra would support the local communities involved, as Clausse was determined to save these ”heritage treasures.”
”Europeans take pride in cultural heritage. It brings them together”, the Dean of the EIB, Francisco de Paula Coelho, stated. European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel agreed with him. She also hoped the recent attention could raise awareness about the problematic situation the selected sites face. ”Europe’s cultural heritage is precious and deserves our utmost attention and protection.”
The inclusion in the 7 most endangered list seems like a step in the right direction for these sites. However, it is no guarantee these sites will survive in the future. For example, the National Theatre in Tirana, Albania, was included in the 2020 edition of the list. A few months after its nomination, authorities destroyed the building. You can watch the video below to learn more about its controversial demolition.