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View of Notre Dame Cathedral from the southeast, with the spire that collapsed during the April fire. Courtesy of the World Monuments Fund.
View of Notre Dame Cathedral from the southeast, with the spire that collapsed during the April fire. Courtesy of the World Monuments Fund.

Notre Dame and Easter Island Among Sites on World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch List

The World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced today the twenty-five at-risk cultural heritage sites that were selected for its biennial list of places that are in urgent need of conservation. Located in twenty-two countries—including Chile, Iraq, Spain, and Uzbekistan—the sites are eligible to receive $1 million from the WMF sponsor American Express.  

Among the sites are the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was ravaged by a fire that nearly caused the iconic building to collapse earlier this year; Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which became the center of a legal dispute after President Donald Trump announced he planned to roll back environmental protections extended to the area by former president Barack Obama; the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, a rich landscape near Machu Picchu being threatened by a proposed airport construction; and Rapa Nui National Park in Chile, which is also known as Easter Island, the home of famous rock carvings.

“These remarkable sites demand sustainable, community-led solutions that bring people together and fuse conservation with social change,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, CEO of the WMF. “We are excited for the World Monuments Watch to kick start that impact.”

The places were nominated from communities, individuals, and other entities, and were chosen by an independent panel of heritage experts. The WMF will now partner with local stakeholders to map out future advocacy, education, and conservation initiatives. Since the program’s inception, more than 836 sites in more than 135 countries and territories have been on the Monuments Fund Watch, and the WMF has contributed over $110 million to Watch sites, which have also benefited from over $300 million from other sponsors and organizations.

The full 2020 World Monuments Watch list is as follows:

1.       Koutammakou, Land of the Batammariba, Benin, and Togo

2.       Ontario Place, Canada

3.       Rapa Nui National Park, Chile

4.       Alexan Palace, Egypt

5.       Notre-Dame de Paris, France

6.       Tusheti National Park, Georgia

7.       Gingerbread Neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti

8.       Historic Water Systems of the Deccan Plateau, India

9.       Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, India

10.   Mam Rashan Shrine, Iraq

11.   Inari-yu Bathhouse, Japan

12.   Iwamatsu District, Japan

13.   Canal Nacional, Mexico

14.   Choijin Lama Temple, Mongolia

15.   Traditional Burmese Teak Farmhouses, Myanmar

16.   Chivas and Chaityas of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

17.   Anarkali Bazaar, Pakistan

18.   Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru

19.   Kindler Chapel, Pabianice Evangelical Cemetery, Poland

20.   Courtyard Houses of Axerquía, Spain

21.   Bennerley Viaduct, United Kingdom

22.   Bears Ears National Monument, US

23.   Central Aguirre Historic District, US

24.   San Antonio Woolworth Building, US

25.   Traditional Houses in the Old Jewish Mahalla of Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Bears Ears National Monument. Photo: Josh Ewing, Friends of Cedar Mesa. Courtesy of the World Monuments Fund.