The Roman amphitheatre in Durrës in Albania, the buffer zone in the historic centre of Nicosia in Cyprus, Vaubans 17th century fortifications in Briançon in France, the Renaissance monastery of San Benedetto Po in Italy, the 15th century monastery in Setúbal in Portugal, the historic mining landscape of Rosia Montana in Romania and the Armenian church of St. George in Mardin in Turkey have been selected as the 7 most threatened landmarks in Europe. The announcement was made today by the leading European heritage organisation Europa Nostra
, together with the European Investment Bank Institute, at a press conference in Athens, on the eve of its 50th Anniversary Congress. These gems of Europes cultural and natural heritage are in danger, some due to lack of funds or expertise, others due to inadequate planning, neglect, natural disaster or even political conflict. Urgent action is therefore required.
These monuments and sites were selected not only because they tell a fascinating story about our shared past, anchoring the sense of belonging to a European family, but also because they are highly valuable to the local communities who are strongly engaged in saving them. Rescuing these sites would also act as a catalyst for the social and economic revitalisation of entire cities or areas. This is why Europa Nostra calls upon many public and private partners, at local, national and European levels, to join forces with them to ensure a promising future for the selected sites, stated Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra.
Investment in heritage conservation contributes to sustainable development and ultimately to growth and employment through its positive impacts on the local and regional economies. Support to heritage conservation therefore falls well within the remit of the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB Institute, together with Europa Nostra and associated partners, will undertake the necessary efforts to assess the selected sites and to contribute to the development of realistic action plans, in close cooperation with the national and local public and private entities, added Rémy Jacob, Director General of the EIB and Dean of the EIB Institute.
Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, founding partner of The 7 Most Endangered programme, will undertake rescue missions to these heritage sites after the summer. More specifically, experts appointed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), an associate partner, will provide analysis and advice on how funding could be obtained, for example, through European Union funds or, in appropriate cases, loans. The initial rescue action plans will be presented at the European Heritage Policy Conference, organised by Europa Nostra, in Brussels on 5 December 2013.
For 50 years, Europa Nostra has been active in saving endangered heritage all over Europe, from the ancient site of Delphi in Greece in the early 1980s to the historic city of LAquila in Italy in the 2010s. We are proud that this year, for the first time, we have launched an advocacy and operational scheme in partnership with such a prestigious financial institution as the European Investment Bank. Our alliance demonstrates the recognition by the EU Institutions of their responsibility towards safeguarding Europes cultural heritage, as stated in the Treaty of Lisbon (article 3.3). We expect that The 7 Most Endangered programme will encourage others to support our efforts to rescue and promote the unique heritage of Europe, concluded Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra.
The 7 Most Endangered for 2013 were selected by Europa Nostras Board from the 14 sites shortlisted by an Advisory Panel composed of international experts. In this initial year, civil society organisations and public bodies from 21 European countries submitted 40 nominations. The 7 Most Endangered programme was launched last January, having been inspired by a successful project run by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Nominations for 2014 can be submitted until 1 November 2013 by Europa Nostras country representations, member and associate organisations.