This week, the World Monuments Fund announced the 2010 World Monuments Watch. For more than 40 years, WMF, a nonprofit organization, has worked to preserve cultural heritage across the globe. The 2010 Watch includes 93 sites now at risk, representing 47 countries. These include 9 sites from the United States and 15 dating from the 20th century. The Watch is WMF’s flagship advocacy program, and it calls international attention to threatened cultural heritage.
Ranging from the famous ( Machu Picchu, Peru ) and remote (Phajoding, a monastery high in the mountains of Bhutan ), to the unexpected ( Merritt Parkway, Connecticut, U.S. ) and little-known (desert castles of ancient Khorezm, Uzbekistan ), the 2010 Watch tells compelling stories of human aspiration, imagination, and adaptation. The need for collective action and sustainable stewardship are common themes running through the 2010 list, and the 93 sites vividly illustrate the ever-more pressing need to create a balance between heritage concerns and the social, economic, and environmental interests of communities around the world.
I spent a good hour browsing through the list and was amazed by what I saw. My personal favorite? It’s a toss up between the wooden expedition huts in Antarctica and the desert castles of Uzbekistan. A handy map feature on the site pinpoints the locations of all 93 sites across the globe allowing visitors to explore sites in their region. Why not plan on visiting one or two on your next trip?
The World Monuments Fund helps local communities sustain their heritage, advocates for endangered sites, trains craftspeople, and educates the public about the importance of preserving our cultural legacy. Help support the WMF by visiting their website and joining their preservation efforts because historical preservation is sexy!