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Europe's 7 most endangered heritage sites 2016 announced: Leading heritage organisation
Ancient city of Hasankeyf and its surroundings, Turkey. Photo: Courtesy of Hasankeyf Matters.

THE HAGUE.- The Archaeological site of Ererouyk and the village of Ani Pemza in Armenia, Patarei Sea Fortress in Tallinn in Estonia, Helsinki-Malmi Airport in Finland, Colbert Swing Bridge in Dieppe in France, the Kampos of Chios in Greece, the Convent of St. Anthony of Padua in Extremadura in Spain, and the Ancient city of Hasankeyf and its surroundings in Turkey have been named as the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe in 2016. Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage organisation, and the European Investment Bank Institute (EIBI) made the announcement today during a public event at the Ateneo Veneto in Venice, Italy.

These gems of Europe’s cultural heritage are in serious danger, some due to lack of resources or expertise, others due to neglect or inadequate planning. Urgent action is therefore needed. Expert missions to the sites will be arranged and feasible action plans submitted by the end of the year. ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, as part of Europa Nostra’s network project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’.

In addition, Europa Nostra and the EIB Institute - following a firm recommendation from an international advisory panel of experts - decided that the Venice Lagoon in Italy should be declared the most endangered heritage site in Europe, given the paramount importance of this heritage landmark to Europe and the world, as well as the complexity and magnitude of the challenges posed.

Maestro Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra, stated: “This list spotlights rare examples of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of being lost forever. The local communities are firmly engaged in trying to save these testaments to our shared story but need widespread support. On behalf of Europa Nostra, I urge national and European stakeholders, both public and private, to join forces with us to ensure a promising future for these sites. Rescuing our common heritage brings countless social and economic benefits not just for the regions and the countries involved but for Europe as a whole, as has been increasingly recognised by EU institutions and is clearly demonstrated in the recent report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’”.

Reacting to the announcement of ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ 2016, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Our cultural heritage is an integral part of who we are as human beings. We must not take it for granted. On the contrary, we need to cherish and protect it to keep it alive. That is why the EU is working with regions and cities to help them preserve their heritage sites. Our aim is to enable local communities to discover and experience their heritage, and to give them a say in how it is developed and managed. This is a great way of bringing people together, of building open, tolerant societies – something that is today more vital than ever.”

“Well-run cultural and natural heritage projects can bring important economic and social contributions to regional development and to urban renewal throughout Europe. This is the reason why the EIB Institute and the European Commission participate actively in ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme,” added Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the EIB Institute.

Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, together with other partners and the nominators, will visit the 7 selected sites and meet with key stakeholders in the coming months. The heritage and financial experts will provide technical advice, identify possible sources of funding and mobilise broad support.

The 7 Most Endangered for 2016 were selected by the Board of Europa Nostra from the 14 sites shortlisted by a panel of specialists in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance. Nominations were submitted by civil society or public bodies which form part of Europa Nostra’s vast network of member and associate organisations from all over Europe.

‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra with the EIB 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 scheme. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action and to promote “the power of example”. The first 7 Most Endangered list was presented in June 2013 in Athens, followed by the second in May 2014 in Vienna, during the European Heritage Congresses held by Europa Nostra in the two cities.

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