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The 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites In Europe 2016

Picture of Olivia Costanzo
Updated: 3 October 2016
On 16 March 2016, the heritage organization Europa Nostra officially announced a list of the seven most endangered heritage sites in Europe. The reason why the sites selected are deteriorating are as diverse as governmental neglect, lack of expert care, or available resources. These are the seven communities most in need of financial and activist support.

Archaeological Site of Ererouyk and the Village of Ani Pemza, Armenia

Situated on the border of Turkey and Armenia, in the vicinity of the ancient capital Ani, the site of Ererouyk features a medieval chapel that was once one of the most important places of worship in the region. The monument dates from the 6th century and is a prime example of early Christian architecture. The relics of a nearby medieval village could be transformed into a promising tourist attraction if it is carefully preserved.

Patarei Sea Fortress in Tallinn, Estonia

The harsh climate has led to the fast deterioration of this two-century-old fortress by the sea. After its days of functioning as military barracks, between the years of 1920 and 2007, Patarei held political prisoners. It is currently a cultural attraction, but many sections are sealed off due to structural instability. With the proposed renovation of the fortress, it would be transformed into a museum or a residential building.

Patarei Prison | © JIP/WikiCommons

Helsinki-Malmi Airport, Finland

This historical airport is currently threatened by city plans to decommission its aviation purposes and make room for new residential construction. Malmi is one of the best-preserved pre-WWII airports in all of Europe, as well as one of the first airports intentionally built to offer international flights. Personal aviators as well as professional flight training schools most commonly use the airport.

helsinki-malmi_10 copy
Helsinki-Malmi Airport | Courtesy Seppo Sipilä

Colbert Swing Bridge in Dieppe, France

The Colbert Swing Bridge is the last large operating swing bridge in Europe, designed with the same materials and structure as the Eiffel Tower, which makes it an example of the mechanization of its time. It was decided that the 1889 bridge was to be taken down and replaced, but Fondation du Patrimoine, a historic and cultural foundation, has made strides in declaring it a landmark and proposing feasible plans for its restoration.

Colbert Swing Bridge | © Frédéric BISSON/Flickr
Colbert Swing Bridge | © Frédéric BISSON/Flickr

Kampos of Chios, Greece

This historic and rural area of the Greek island Chios is home to structures dating back to the 14th-18th centuries of Byzantine, Genoese and local architectural influences. The churches, houses and estates are built out of local stone and are owned by local families who have been cultivating the surrounding land for centuries. The deterioration of these neoclassical buildings is due to misuse and the inability of locals to properly care for or restore the structures. Many proposals are being discussed concerning land use, infrastructure and conservation of this historic town.

Convent of St. Anthony of Padua in Extremadura, Spain

This 15th-century convent is a historic gem in western Spain. This convent features a gothic-style church with Renaissance chapels and was once a cultural and religious landmark for the region. It is currently severely deteriorated, and an intervention is being discussed that will work with historical society Hispania Nostra as well as the local government to rehabilitate the monument and others like it throughout Spain.

Ancient City of Hasankeyf and its Surroundings, Turkey

An upcoming hydroelectric dam project is threatening the Roman ruins and medieval monuments of Hasankeyf, a 12,000-year-old settlement on the ancient banks of the Tigris River in Turkey. If the project is implemented, all of the artifacts and historical monuments that date from the 12th-15th centuries will be flooded, as there is no initiative to save 80% of the area that will be affected.

Hasankeyf Castle | © Omer Unlu/WikiCommons